This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin. It is reprinted here to give Band members a chance to reflect further on Obizaan’s teachings.
Mii dash noongom ani-dazhimagwaa ingiw opwaaganag gaa-miinigoowiziyangig anishinaabewiyang ge-ni-apenimoyangig giniigaaniiminaang.
Today I am going to talk about the ceremonial pipes that we were given as a people to rely on for our support in our future.
Ishke inendaagoziyan da-miinigoowiziyan a’aw opwaagan ge-aabaji’ad, mii-go gomaapii da-miinigoowiziyan. Ishke aanind a’aw Anishinaabe niwaabamaa adaawed inow opwaaganan waa-aabaji’aajin. Gaawiin i’iw akeyaa daa-izhichigesiin a’aw Anishinaabe. Inendaagoziyan a’aw opwaagan da-ayaawad, mii-go da-miinigoowiziyamban. Giga-miinigoog ingiw Manidoog. Gaawiin memwech gidaa-o-michi-gagwedwesiin da-miinigooyan gaye.
If it is meant for you to have a ceremonial pipe, at some point the Manidoog will provide one for you. I see some of our Anishinaabe purchasing the pipes that they want to use. Anishinaabe should not do this. If it is meant for you to have a pipe, you will receive one. The Manidoog will give you one. You do not necessarily go and ask for one either.
Azhigwa dash oshki-miinigoowiziyan a’aw opwaagan, booch a’aw asemaa miinawaa wiisiniwin gidaa-atamawaag ingiw Manidoog dabwaa-aabaji’ad a’aw opwaagan. Ishke dash a’aw opwaagan, niizhiwag ingiw Manidoog gaa-nakodangig da-ni-aabajichigaazowaad ge-onjikaad dash a’aw opwaagan. Mii dash a’aw Gimishoomisinaan, mii a’aw bezhig a’aw Manidoo gaa-nakodang wii-naadamaaged o’ow akeyaa. Mii dash imaa asiniiwid a’aw opwaagan, mii dash a’aw Gimishoomisinaan ezhiwiinind.
Once you are given a new pipe, you need to put tobacco and food for the Manidoog before you use the pipe. When it comes to the pipe there are two Manidoog that agreed to come together in this way and to form the pipe as we know it. One of the Manidoo that agreed to help this was our Grandfather Rock. That is the stone part of the pipe, his name is Gimishoomisinaan.
Mii dash awedi bezhig a’aw Manidoo gaa-nakodang gaye wii-naadamaaged o’ow akeyaa, mii dash a’aw Mitigwaabiiwinini ezhiwiinjigaazod. Mii i’iw okij gii-ozhichigaadeg, mii imaa gaa-ondinigaadeg imaa mitigoong.
The other Manidoo that agreed to help in this way is Mitigwaabiiwinini. That is where the pipe stem is made from, it comes from the tree.
Azhigwa dash dabwaa-aabaji’ad gidoopwaagan, asemaan gidaa-o-ininamawaa a’aw Anishinaabe netaa-apagizomaaged inow asemaan zagaswe’idid a’aw Anishinaabe. Mii dash a’aw ge-bi-gaagiigidod, weweni da-apagizondamawaad inow Manidoon enabinid inow gidasemaaman naa i’iw giwiisiniwin. Mii imaa naaniigaan ge-ni-apagizondamawind gidasemaam naa gaye giwiisiniwin ingiw niizh Manidoog gaa-nakodangig wii-maamawinikeniwaad imaa dash gaa-onjikaad a’aw opwaagan.
Before you use your pipe, you should take tobacco over to someone who knows how to talk at Anishinaabe ceremonies. That person can come talk and offer up your tobacco and food to where those Manidoog sit. The first place your tobacco and food is sent to is to those two Manidoog that agreed to come together to form the pipe.
Mii gaye imaa nanaandomindwaa ingiw Manidoog da-wenda-mashkawaamagadinig imaa ge-onjikaamagadinig azhigwa ani-aabajichigaazod a’aw opwaagan. Miinawaa gaye mii a’aw ge-ni-naadamook giniigaaniiming da-ni-maminoseyan.
The Manidoog are asked to help making sure that the strength and power is there as the pipe is used. It is also asked that this is the pipe that will help you to live a good life in the future.
Ishke dash gaye wayeshkad a’aw Bwaan gaa-nagadenimag, mii a’aw opwaaganan gaa- miizhid. Mii dash iwapii gaa-miizhid inow opwaaganan, geget nigii-kagwaadagitoo iwapii. Ningii-wenda-onzaamiikaanaaban i’iw minikwewin enigaa’igod a’aw Anishinaabe. Mii dash imaa gii-mikwendamaan gaa-onji-naadamaagoowizid gigete-anishinaabeminaan. Mii i’iw wiin gaa-izhichiged, mii-go apane endaso-giizhik gii-asemaakawaad inow Manidoon.
It was a Sioux friend that gave me my first pipe. At the time he gave me the pipe, I was going through a difficult time. I had been drinking heavily at the time. It was at that time that I remembered how the old Anishinaabe got their help. What the old Anishinaabe did was put their tobacco out everyday for the Manidoog.
Ingii-kotaan da-aabiinji’igoyaan i’iw minikwewin, mii dash imaa gii-inendamaan endaso-giizhik da-aabaji’ag a’aw indoopwaagan. Mii dash imaa endaso-gigizhebaawagak imaa aabita-diba’igan awashime gii-tazhitaayaan gii-mooshkina’ag a’aw indoopwaagan. Mii imaa bangii asemaa gii-mamag gii-ininamawagwaa bebezhig ingiw Manidoog weweni gii-kanoonagwaa biinish dash imaa gakina ingiw Manidoog gii-asemaakawagwaa, mii dash imaa gii-saka’wag indoopwaagan. Mii dash i’iw ginwenzh eni-izhichiged a’aw Anishinaabe, mii-go iwidi eni-apiichitaad da-ni-asigishininid inow odasemaan enabinid inow Manidoon. Booch igo gomaapii oga-naadamaagoon inow Manidoon.
At the time I was afraid that the alcohol would get the best of me. So it was then that I decided to use my pipe on a daily basis. So what I did was every morning I sat there for a half-hour or more filling my pipe. What I did was take a pinch of tobacco and offer it to each of the Manidoog until I did that to all the Manidoog that I knew. It was then that I lit my pipe. As Anishinaabe does this on a continuous basis, his tobacco collects where those Manidoog sit. Eventually those Manidoog will help him.
Ishke dash i’iw akeyaa niin gaa-izhi-naadamaagoowiziyaan i’iwapii, ingii- odisigoog imaa nibawaajiganing ingiw Manidoog. Mii-go gaa-izhi-moozhitooyaan inigokwekamig i’iw zhawendaagoziwin gegigaabawiwaad ingiw Manidoog gaa-pi-naazikawijig, mii dash i’iw gaa-piingigeshkaamagak imaa nijichaagong. Mii dash i’iw gaa-miinonigoyaan.
The way I was helped by doing this, the Manidoog began to appear in my dreams. I could feel the compassion of those Manidoog stand with and I could feel that energy go into my spirit. It was that which straightened my life out.
Ishke dash i’iwapii gii-wenda-inigaawendamaan bimaadiziyaan. Ishke dash ingiw Manidoog gii-pi-naazikawiwaad imaa nibawaajiganing, mii imaa gii-moonendamaan zhawenimiwaad ingiw Manidoog. Mii igo awegwen a’aw Anishinaabe i’iw akeyaa eni-izhichiged, mii-go gaye wiin da-naadamaagoowizipan.
It was at that time that I was really pitiful. And when those Manidoog appeared in my dreams, it was then that I realized how much compassion they had for me. Any of our Anishinaabe who wants to do this will be helped in the same fashion.
Mii gaye gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amaagooyaan ani-aabaji’ag a’aw indoopwaagan, mii i’iw gaa-igooyaan, ”Mii i’iw akeyaa ezhi-ganawenimad a’aw gidoopwaagan, mii i’iw akeyaa ge-ni-izhi-ganawendaman gibimaadiziwin.” Ishke weweni doodawad, weweni gashkapinad, weweni biini’ad, miinawaa weweni nanaa’inad ani-giizhi-aabaji’ad a’aw gidoopwaagan, mii gaye gaawiin debinaak giga-ni-doodanziin i’iw gibimaadiziwin.
The teaching that I was given when I was first given my pipe, I was told, ”The way you take care of your pipe, is the way you will lead your life.” If you treat your pipe in a good way, take care in tying it up, doing a good job cleaning it, and putting it away in a good way once you are done using it, you will also do a thorough job in taking care of your life.
Mii gaye gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amaagooyaan da-ni-ganawaabandamaan aaniin ezhichigeyaan ani-biini’ag a’aw indoopwaagan. Weweni gidaa-doodaan i’iw akakanzhe. Gego imaa endazhi-apagiji-ziigwebinigeng gidaa-atoosiin i’iw akakanzhe. Mii-go izhi-bezhigod a’aw asemaa naa i’iw akakanzhe. Weweni dash gaye akakanzhe gidaa-doodaan.
I was also taught to be careful as I clean my pipe. You need to treat the ash respectfully. Do not throw it in the garbage. The tobacco and the ash are one in the same. So as a result you need to treat the ash respectfully.
A’aw nizigosiban Amikogaabawiikweban nigii-wiindamaag, baanimaa niiwing midewid a’aw Anishinaabe, mii owapii ge-ni-aabaji’aapan inow mekadewizinijin inow opwaaganan. Mii i’iw akeyaa nebowa a’aw Anishinaabe gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amawind. Mii gaye gaa-izhi-gikinoo’amawid a’aw nizigosiban, mii imaa niiwing medewid, mii imaa niiwing achigaazonid inow asemaan ani-mooshkinachigaazonid inow odoopwaaganan. Mii dash gaye nising medewid, nising achigaazowan iniw asemaan ani-mooshkinachigaazonid dash odoopwaaganan. Mii-go aaniin minik medewid, mii iw minik dasing echigaazonid inow asemaan a’aw Anishinaabe.
My aunt Julie Shingobe had told me that it is not until Anishinaabe became fourth degree Mide that they are allowed to use a black pipe. Many of our Anishinaabe had been taught that same way. My aunt also taught me that that if you are fourth degree Mide your pipe will be filled with the fourth pinch of tobacco. Third degree Mide-person will take three pinches to fill their pipe. Whatever degree Midewiwin you are that is how many pinches it will take to your pipe.
Ayaapii-ko nibi-gagwejimigoo maajaa’iweyaan, ”Daa-achigaazowan ina odoopwaaganan da-ni-maajiinaad a’aw eni-aanjikiid?” Ishke dash mii iw mikwendamaan a’aw Nizigozisiban gii-ishkwaa-ayaad gii-nandodamaaged da-ni-maajiinaad inow odoopwaaganan. Ishke gaye a’aw chi-mookomaan owapii gii-moonikaadang iniw anishinaabe-jiibegamigoon. Mii imaa gii-mikigaazowaad nebowa ingiw opwaaganag miinawaa wawaaj igo inow omidewayaanan. Ishke mii imaa gii-wiindamaagoowiziyang mewinzha a’aw Anishinaabe gii-na’inigaazod, mii imaa gii-achigaazonid inow odoopwaaganan miinawaa omidewayaanan.
Sometimes when I do funerals I am asked, ”Can a pipe be buried with an Anishinaabe?” I remember when my aunt passed away; she had asked that she take her pipe with her. Also when the white man dug up a lot of the Anishinaabe graves, there were a lot of pipes and Mide-hides found in those graves. It was there that we were told that a lot of our Anishinaabe of the past were buried with their pipes and their Mide-hides.
Ishke gaye babaamaadiziyaan iko ani-naadamaageyaan imaa Anishinaabe ani- asemaaked, mii-ko imaa wenda-ayaangwaamiziyaan gaanag a’aw indoopwaagan da-baazhiji-dakokaanaasig a’aw ikwe. Geget mashkawaadiziwag ingiw oshkiniigikweg azhigwa wii-ni-ikwewiwaad. Naa-go gaye biinish i’iw a’aw ikwe apii eni-izhiwebiziwaad ikwewag endaso-giizis. Ishke imaa baazhiji-dakokaanaawaad inow opwaaganan, mii-go imaa da-aatenimawind i’iw ezhi-mashkawaadizid a’aw opwaagan. Noongom nebowa ingiw ikwewag gaawiin ogikendanziinaawaa ezhi- mashkawaadiziwaad ikwewiwaad.
Also in my travels to help Anishinaabe in putting their tobacco, I am extremely careful in hiding my pipe making sure that one of our women does not step over it. Our young girls who are in the process of becoming women are very powerful. Our women are also very powerful at their time of the month. If these women were to step-over a pipe, they would wipe out the power that exists within that pipe. Many of our women do not know how powerful they are as women.