Our spirit isn’t red skin, or light skin, brown skin, white skin
Or if we have red hair, brown or black hair, when will the buffalo herd come back here?
Are we raven or are we eagle? We are families, we are equals
It’s our wigwam, it’s our war song, or the moon that came before the sun
It’s the contract made at contact, we wrote your acceptance on our Wampun
Oh Gitchi Manitou (Great Spirit), you’re there for me, and we’re here for you
We are all here on the turtle, waking morning there’s a bird call
Saying Waubun (Morning), so nice see to you, Odaanisan (Daughter), there’s warmth for you,
there’s cold for you, there’s sad for you
Odaanisan, there’s love for you, Odaanisan, there’s a moon for you, Odaanisan, there’s food for you
Odaanisan, sing our song again, Odaanisan, speak our tongue again
Oh Gitchi Manitou, you stayed for us, we’re strong for you.
From the east wind crying people were not heard because the steeple
Made quiet ways forgotten, made corn, squash and beans all rotten
Now many faces ride together, with hopes our children’s world is better
They will plant the seed that grew our sisters, heal heart and heal our blisters
Odaanisan, you walk with my bones, but you love with your heart
Oh Gitchi Manitou, chi miigwetch (Great Thanks), we give our thanks to you.
About the Poem
In nature and in all beings, there are great teachings the Creator gifted to balance our lives. We must recognize these gifts that we were given and share them openly to bring good medicine into this rich and diverse world we share with all living creations. Amik (Beaver) selflessly shares its beautiful gift by cleaning our water, maintaining life and balance to our environment for all living beings.
We must give thanks to the Creator who has taught us an important life lesson. If we don’t use our gifts to heal, our teeth will grow into our heart, destroying us and the manitou (spirit) of our being. Our gifts were given as medicine to heal ourselves by helping others. The colonial world teaches us to be safe and shield ourselves with personal boundaries and intelligent choices.
Our gifts were given as medicine to heal ourselves by helping others.
Make wise choices. “My daughters, remember the past of your ancestors, for their choices are why you are here today. Use that wisdom so our families flourish in the sun of tomorrow.”
My spirit and being are Ojibway, and my writings come from my personal understanding, in which many nations have shared and gifted me their knowledge and history.
I am deeply thankful for these teachings.
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Darryl Whetung is an award-winning Ojibway film, television, and documentary editor/producer. He wears many hats: from producer to director, creator and writer. Amy’s Mythic Mornings, a six-episode animated children’s series he created and wrote, currently airs on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).