Mindimooyehn: One Who Holds Things Together

Location: Jepson Room 109
Date: Sat, April 21
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

The Ojibwe word for female elder is Mindimooyenh - one who holds things together.  Like a backbone, women are the ones who hold things together - family, community, traditions, language, stories, and relationships.  As I sought to explore what it means to be an Ojibwe leader, I found that the role of men and women differed in historical contexts.  Ojibwe women were responsible for weaving, sewing, harvesting berries, wild rice, maple syrup, and planting gardens; men were responsible for safety and hunting.  For generations, Ojibwe women possessed property rights. The traditional perspective of women is that women possess significant power, as demonstrated by their ability to give life and provide sustenance.  To live a good life, mino-bimaadiziwin, one should honor women and thereby honor the gift of life and love.  The ideal leader is an elder woman, with a lifetime of experience and a kind heart, a Mindimooyenh. 

Paper Presentation