Friday, January 21, 2011

Patricia M. Ningewance

Here's an important lesson from an elder.

Patricia Ningewance wrote in 'Talking Gookom's Language,' "There are also words in the language that refer to how Anishinaabe people should behave towards each other and outsiders. There's the notion of leaving each person their personal space. In the old days, people had to live in close quarters. It was thought that as long as there was enough space on the floor (inside the wigwam or tepee) to fit sleeping figures, there was sufficient room in one's home. A home, after all, was precious shelter from the hostile weather. So in living closely together, it was considered rude or strange to look too frequently or too long at someone. The expression was, "Ginibaazaab!" Keep your eyes to yourself. Another was to not talk to someone too long or too often. "Gego nibaazomaaken!" you were told. "Don't bother him/her with your talking." These rules of behaviour gave us some social insulation."