A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature
American Indian Studies
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 2014-03-01
Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature 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.
Ziibaaskobiige: To Set a Written Net
Chapter 1. Anishinaabemowin: The Anishinaabe Language
Chapter 2. Anishinaabebiige: Anishinaabe Literature
Chapter 3. Gikenmaadizo miinwaa Gikenmaa’aan: Patterns of Identity in the Writing of Louise Erdrich
Chapter 4. Zhaabwii’endam: Conscious Survival in the Writing of Jim Northrup
Chapter 5. Giizhigomaadiziwin: Universal Life in the Writing of Basil Johnston
Chapter 6. Waninawendamowinan: Stirred Thoughts in the Writing of Gerald Vizenor
Chapter 7. Ziiginibiige: Poured Writing
Maziniaganan Gii Gindanaanan: Works Cited
Bawaajimo confirms a vision come to pass, a landmark to a vital moment in Anishinaabe history in our collective culture and country where language renewal is taking place on our tongues, on the page, and in our dreams. This work makes a significant contribution to a field with very few scholarly texts and a rising readership. An Anishinaabe-centered critical reading from a scholar with fluency in the Anishinaabe language is a singular contribution, absolutely new and years ahead of any other work that will compete on any level.
—Heid E. Erdrich, author of Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems and National Monuments
Poet and linguist Margaret Noodin sees and hears things in the Anishinaabe language that others only dream of. With Bawaajimo, she lights a pathway into the language and invites us all to come along and wonder at its complexity, power of expression, and wisdom. She shows us, patiently, a word at a time, how the Anishinaabe language is a vast reservoir of “tribal knowledge” and “indigenous systems of thinking.” These waters must be navigated with sensitivity, and with a sense of humility at the genius that the ancestors have passed down. Four contemporary Ojibwe writers—Erdrich, Northrup, Johnston, and Vizenor—guide the way. But Noodin’s great contribution is in how she illuminates and contextualizes these authors’ works, spinning a tapestry that spans millennia of Ojibwe thinking, visions, and ways of being in the landscape. It is a truly remarkable journey.
—K. David Harrison, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Swarthmore College, and Vice President, Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages
Bawaajimo is grounded in a deep understanding of Anishinaabemowin, cutting-edge literary criticism, and a wide breadth of experience on the land, in classrooms, and in lodges. These rich essays of love and respect for our stories and storytellers not only set a new standard for studies in Anishinaabe literature but embody a new critical approach utilizing the ways language, creativity, and history operate in our culture. It is an honor song for our ancestors and our communities. Gichi-miigwech nimise.
—Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Co-Editor of Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World through Stories
We need more books like Noodin’s, more readers who can make a conversation between Native language and Native literature, and more readers who can bring together a lived knowledge of language and culture with a specific American Indian literary tradition. Noodin’s book is culturally and intellectually generous and a great and illuminating pleasure to read.
—Robert Dale Parker, author of The Invention of Native American Literature
The relationship between indigenous mother tongues and indigenous literatures written in English is vexed and burdened by the many destructive legacies of colonialism. Too often scholars and writers alike assume an inevitable conflict between the two, but some of the most significant recent work in the field challenges those assumptions and grapples with the complex intellectual and emotional entanglements between our languages and our literatures. Bawaajimo is a major contribution to this conversation, and it extends well beyond it. This book is a very welcome and impressively profound example of scholarly generosity and ethical provocation, one that insists on the continuing relevance of indigenous literatures and languages not simply as a moral good but as an intellectual one, too.
—Daniel Heath Justice, Chair of the First Nations Studies Program, Associate Professor in the First Nations Studies Program and of English, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture, University of British Columbia
This book gets to the heart of indigenous writing through an impeccable examination of Anishinaabe language and literature. Noodin’s expansive knowledge and clear explanations invite readers to a new and imaginative understanding of major Anishinaabe authors.
—P. Jane Hafen, Professor of English, University of Nevada, Las Vegas