Living with Animals: Ojibwe Spirit Powers

Living with Animals: Ojibwe Spirit Powers

By: Michael Pomedli (author)Paperback

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Within nineteenth-century Ojibwe/Chippewa medicine societies, and in communities at large, animals are realities and symbols that demonstrate cultural principles of North American Ojibwe nations. Living with Animals presents over 100 images from oral and written sources - including birch bark scrolls, rock art, stories, games, and dreams - in which animals appear as kindred beings, spirit powers, healers, and protectors. Michael Pomedli shows that the principles at play in these sources are not merely evidence of cultural values, but also unique standards brought to treaty signings by Ojibwe leaders. In addition, these principles are norms against which North American treaty interpretations should be reframed. The author provides an important foundation for ongoing treaty negotiations, and for what contemporary Ojibwe cultural figures corroborate as ways of leading a good, integrated life.

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About Author

Michael Pomedli is an emeritus professor of Philosophy at St Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.


Preface * Challenging Western thought * The power of bear grease * Bears as persons * Transformative possibilities make definitive judgments difficult Introduction * Scope of this book * Geography of the Ojibwe * Goals and methodology * Use of terms; spellings, illustrations * Acknowledgements * Genesis of this book * Permissions Chapter One: The Grand Medicine Society, the Midewiwin * Membership * Wabeno, Jessakkid, and Midewiwin * Origins of the Midewiwin * Cosmic ordering * Nanabush * Health and the Midewiwin * Functions of the Midewiwin * Sound of the drum * Medicine bags * Birch bark scrolls, the lodge, teachings, ceremonies * Midewiwin and rock art * Bear, the "guiding spirit of the Midewiwin" * Megis/shell * Midewiwin and leadership Chapter Two: "Paths of the Spirit": Moral Values in the Writings of Four 19th-Century Ojibwe in the Spirit of the Midewiwin * Peter Jones: Like the "red squirrel" who stores nuts, store works of the Great Spirit * Andrew J. Blackbird: "The Great Spirit is looking upon thee continually" * George Copway: "I am one of Nature's children." * William Whipple Warren: "There is much yet to be learned from the wild and apparently simple son of the forest" Chapter Three: Otter: the Playful Slider * Physical otter * Otter as representational * Otter as patterned * Otter and Ojibwe standards of life Chapter Four: Owls: Images and Voices in the Ojibwe and Midewiwin World * Classification and characteristics of owls * Owl as bad luck, bad medicine * Owl as protector and healer * Owl as a teacher of altruism * Owl and directions, winds and seasons * Owl and the dead * Owl and conservation * Owl and origin of day and night * Representations of owl Chapter Five: Omnipresent and Ambivalent Bears * Bears' anatomy, physiology, and behavior * Ojibwe relationships with bears * Representations of bear in ceremonial performances * Near identity of bears and Ojibwe * Bear in the Midewiwin ceremonies * Totems/dodems, clans * Evil bears * Bear as archshadow * Bear as celestial * Bears and visions of sound * Bear as medicine and healer: following the bear path * Bear as patterned * Bear as child abductor * Bear as environmental guardian, mother * Games * Bear and greed Chapter Six: Water Creatures * Harmful creatures * Snakes and the afterlife * Helpful creatures * Women, water and snakes * Sea creatures and copper * Sea creatures and silver * The Little People Chapter Seven: Thunderbirds * Thunderbirds as givers * Interrelationships among humans, sky and water creatures * Birds and play * Thunderbirds and Ojibwe life * Thunderers as communicators and protectors * Thunderbird symbolism Conclusion Appendix A Leadership among Ojibwe Appendix B The sweat lodge Appendix C Bear as celestial Appendix D Ojibwe historical relationship with copper Appendix E Lacrosse and war Notes Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 05/02/2014
  • ISBN13: 9781442614796
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 384
  • ID: 9781442614796
  • weight: 560
  • ISBN10: 144261479X

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