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Michigan State University

Native American Studies Research Guide: Anishinabek Folklore

Anishinabek Folklore and Related Publications

Centering Anishinaabeg studies: understanding the world through stories / edited by Jill Doerfler, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, and Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark.  East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, c2013.  417pp.  PS508.I5 C46 2013 : For the Anishinaabeg people, who span a vast geographic region from the Great Lakes to the Plains and beyond, stories are vessels of knowledge. They are bagijiganan , offerings of the possibilities within Anishinaabeg life. Existing along a broad narrative spectrum, from aadizookaanag (traditional or sacred narratives) to dibaajimowinan (histories and news)--as well as everything in between--storytelling is one of the central practices and methods of individual and community existence. Stories create and understand, survive and endure, revitalize and persist. They honor the past, recognize the present, and provide visions of the future. In remembering, (re)making, and (re)writing stories, Anishinaabeg storytellers have forged a well-traveled path of agency, resistance, and resurgence. Respecting this tradition, this groundbreaking anthology features twenty-four contributors who utilize creative and critical approaches to propose that this people's stories carry dynamic answers to questions posed within Anishinaabeg communities, nations, and the world at large. Examining a range of stories and storytellers across time and space, each contributor explores how narratives form a cultural, political, and historical foundation for Anishinaabeg Studies. Written by Anishinaabeg and non-Anishinaabeg scholars, storytellers, and activists, these essays draw upon the power of cultural expression to illustrate active and ongoing senses of Anishinaabeg life. They are new and dynamic bagijiganan, revealing a viable and sustainable center for Anishinaabeg Studies, what it has been, what it is, what it can be.

The island of the Anishnaabeg : thunderers and water monsters in the traditional Ojibwe life-world / Theresa S. Smith.  Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2012]  236pp.  Main Library Stacks  E99.C6 E99.C6 S715 1995 : A thoroughly fascinating and carefully argued investigation of the Ojibwe religious cosmology exploring two critical mythic beings.   Manitoulin Island, Ontario.

The legend of Mackinac Island / by Kathy-jo Wargin ; illustrations by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.  Chelsea, MI : Sleeping Bear Press, 1999.  46pp.  E78.M6 W37 1999 : Retells the story of the great turtle Makinauk that enlists the aid of other animals to help create the special place known as Mackinac Island.

The legend of sleeping bear / illustrations by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen ; text by Kathy-jo Wargin.  Chelsea, MI : Sleeping Bear Press, 1998.  46pp.  Special Collections Popular Culture E99.C6 F67 1998 : In this retelling of an Ojibwa Indian tale, a mother bear loses sight of her two cubs as they all attempt to escape a forest fire by swimming across Lake Michigan.

A little mouse / by Lois Dalby and Jeanette McCrie ; illustrated by Lois Dalby ; translated into Lake of the Woods Ojibwe by Elsie Bruyere and John Nichols.  Fort Frances, Ont. : Fort Frances Public Library, 1975.  15pp.  PM854.Z9 L3335 1975 :  Text in Ojibwe only.  Aboriginal children's story.

Living our language : Ojibwe tales & oral histories / edited by Anton Treuer.  St. Paul : Minnesota Historical Society Press, c2001.  272pp.  Main Library Stacks  E99.C6 L535 2001 :  A language carries a people's memories, whether they are recounted as individual reminiscences, as communal history, or as humorous tales. This collection of stories from Anishinaabe elders offers a history of a people at the same time that it seeks to preserve the language of that people. Based on interviews Treuer conducted with ten elders this anthology presents the elders' stories transcribed in Ojibwe with English translation on facing pages. These stories contain a wealth of information, including oral histories of the Anishinaabe people and personal reminiscences, educational tales, and humorous anecdotes. Treuer's translations of these stories preserve the speakers' personalities, allowing their voices to emerge from the page. Treuer introduces each speaker, offering a brief biography and noting important details concerning dialect or themes; he then allows the stories to speak for themselves. This dual-language text will prove instructive for those interested in Ojibwe language and culture, while the stories themselves offer the gift of a living language and the history of a people.

Michigan legends : folktales and lore from the Great Lakes state / Sheryl James.  Ann Arbor : The University of Michigan Press, [2013], c2013.  141pp.  Main Library Stacks GR110.M6 J35 2013  (Also available online)  : Over the course of its history, the state of Michigan has produced its share of folktales and lore. Many are familiar with the Ojibwa legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes, and most have heard a yarn or two told of Michigan's herculean lumberjack, Paul Bunyan. But what about Detroit's Nain Rouge, the red-eyed imp they say bedeviled the city's earliest residents? Or Le Griffon, the Great Lakes' original ghost ship that some believe haunts the waters to this day? Or the Bloodstoppers, Upper Peninsula folk who've been known to halt a wound's bleeding with a simple touch thanks to their magic healing powers? In Michigan Legends, Sheryl James collects these and more stories of the legendary people, events, and places from Michigan's real and imaginary past. Set in a range of historical time periods and locales as well as featuring a collage of ethnic traditions--including Native American, French, English, African American, and Finnish--these tales are a vivid sample of the state's rich cultural heritage. This book will appeal to all Michiganders and anyone else interested in good folktales, myths, legends, or lore.

Minong--the good place : Ojibwe and Isle Royale  / Timothy Cochrane.  East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, c2009.  285pp.  Main Library Stacks E99.C6 C63 2009 (Also available online) : "Minong" (the Ojibwe name for Isle Royale) is the search for the history of the Ojibwe people's relationship with this unique island in the midst of Lake Superior. Cochrane uses a variety of sources: Ojibwe oral narratives, recently rediscovered Jesuit records and diaries, reports of the Hudson's Bay post at Fort William, newspaper accounts, and numerous records from archives in the United States and Canada, to understand this relationship to a place. What emerges is a richly detailed account of Ojibwe activities on Minongand their slow waning in the latter third of the nineteenth century. Piece by piece, Cochrane has assembled a narrative of a people, an island, and a way of life that transcends borders, governments, documentation, and tidy categories. His account reveals an authentic 'history': the missing details, contradictions, deviations from the conventions of historical narrativethe living entity at the intersection of documentation by those long dead and the narratives of those still living in the area. Significantly, it also documents how non-natives symbolically and legally appropriated Isle Royale by presenting it to fellow non-natives as an island that was uninhabited and unused."

The Mishomis book : the voice of the Ojibway / by Edward Benton-Banai.  Saint Paul, Minn. : Red School House, c1988.  114pp.  E99.C6 B44 1988  : The Ojibway is one of the largest groups of Native Americans, belonging to the Anishinabe people of what is today the northern United States and Canada. The Mishomis Book documents the history, traditions, and culture of the Ojibway people through stories and myths passed down through generations. Written by Ojibway educator and spiritual leader Edward Benton-Banai, and first published in 1988, The Mishomis Book draws from the traditional teachings of tribal elders to instruct young readers about Ojibway creation stories and legends, the origin and importance of the Ojibway family structure and clan system, the Midewiwin religion, the construction and use of the water drum and sweat lodge, and modern Ojibway history.  (Juvenile book)

Myths of Native America / edited by Tim McNeese ; illustrated by Richard Hook.  New York : Four Walls Eight Windows, [2003?]  332pp.  Main Library Stacks E98.R3 M97 2003  :  These stories originated in the canyons, plains, mountains, and vast forests of pre-Columbian North America, from the indigenous groups that inhabited the land for thousands of years. Within specific regions, each had its own arts, customs, social practices, and language. This book brings together 120 of the legends, tales, and myths from the rich oral tradition shared in the Southwest, Western Range, Pacific Northwest, California, Northeast, Southeast, Great Lakes, and Great Plains regions. This collection of transcribed stories, with over 50 color illustrations, presents a vivid picture of authentic Native American life.

Nanabozhoo, giver of life / edited by Alethea K. Helbig.  Brighton, Mich. : Green Oak Press, 1987.  269pp.  E99.C6 N36 1987 : A collection of Ojibwa Indian folklore.

Ojibway heritage / Basil Johnston.  Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [1990], c1976.  171pp.  E99.C6 J64 1990  :  Rarely accessible to the general public, Ojibway mythology is as rich in meaning, as broad, as deep, and as innately appealing as the mythologies of Greece, Rome, and other Western civilizations. In Ojibway Heritage Basil Johnston introduces his people's ceremonies, rituals, songs, dances, prayers, arid legends. Conveying the sense of wonder and mystery at the heart of the Ojibway experience, Johnston describes the creation of the universe, followed by that of plants and animals and human beings, and the paths taken by the latter. These stories are to be read, enjoyed, and freely interpreted. Their authorship is perhaps most properly attributed to the tribal storytellers who have carried on the oral tradition that Johnston records and preserves in this book.

Ottawa stories from the Springs : anishinaabe dibaadjimowinan wodi gaa binjibaamigak wodi mookodjiwong e zhinikaadek / translated and edited by Howard Webkamigad.  East Lansing, Michigan : Michigan State University Press, [2015]  279pp.  E99.C6 O87 2015  : Sometimes things come to people out of the blue and seemingly for a reason. The Anishinaabe word for this is nigika. The stories contained in this collection reached Howard Webkamigad nearly eighty years after they were recorded, after first being kept in their original copper wire format by the American Philosophical Society and later being converted onto cassettes and held by Dr. James McClurken of Michigan State University. These rich tales, recorded by Anishinaabe people in the Harbor Springs area of Michigan, draw on the legends, fables, trickster stories, parables, and humor of Anishinaabe culture. Reaching back to the distant past but also delving into more recent events, this book contains a broad swath of the history of the Ojibwe/Chippewa, Ottawa, Pottawatomi, Algonkian, Abenaki, Saulteau, Mashkiigowok/Cree, and other groups that make up the broad range of the Anishinaabe-speaking peoples. Provided here are original stories transcribed from Anishinaabe-language recordings alongside Howard Webkamigad's English translations. These stories not only provide a textured portrait of a complex people but also will help Anishinaabe-language learners see patterns in the language and get a sense of how it flows. Featuring side-by-side Anishinaabe/English translations"-

Bawaajimo : a dialect of dreams in Anishinaabe language and literature / Margaret Noodin.  East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, [2014]   212pp.   Main Library Stacks PM854.Z8 N66 2014  (Also available online) : Combines literary criticism, sociolinguistics, native studies, and poetics to introduce an Anishinaabe way of reading. Although nationally specific, the book speaks to a broad audience by demonstrating an indigenous literary methodology. Investigating the language itself, its place of origin, its sound and structure, and its current usage provides new critical connections between North American fiction, Native American literatures, and Anishinaabe narrative. The four Anishinaabe authors discussed in the book, Louise Erdrich, Jim Northrup, Basil Johnston, and Gerald Vizenor, share an ethnic heritage but are connected more clearly by a culture of tales, songs, and beliefs. Each of them has heard, studied, and written in Anishinaabemowin, making their heritage language a part of the backdrop and sometimes the medium, of their work. All of them reference the power and influence of the Great Lakes region and the Anishinaabeakiing, and they connect the landscape to the original language. As they reconstruct and deconstruct the aadizookaan, the traditional tales of Nanabozho and other mythic figures, they grapple with the legacy of cultural genocide and write toward a future that places ancient beliefs in the center of the cultural horizon.

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