By Eli Baxter
Anishinaabay means the People
mowin is a suffix to indicate the language
Anishinaabay writers use the “be” ending with the vowel e sounding like “ay” but I use the “ay” sound like “bay”.
In the word “niin” meaning “I” the double “ii” is used for a long “e” sound but I use the double “ee” for neen.
I follow the late Basil Johnston writing system from Cape Croker First Nation.
Ni a-pah-chi-toon Basil Johnston-i-ban o-zhi-bee-i-gay-win way-ti Cape Croker Anishinaabayg.
The Anishinaabay writing system has been used for centuries here on Anishinaabay land.
Anishinaabay o-zhi-bee-i-gun gee-a-ba-chi-chi-gah-tay ways-kuch o-maa Anishinaabay a-keeng.
We used birch bark scrolls to write our knowledge.
Ningee-a-ba-chi-too-min wee-gos o-zhi-bee-i-gay-win-nun chi o-zhi-bee-i-gay-yung ki-kayn-das-soh-win-ni-naam.
Traditional knowledge keepers were the only ones allowed to keep the writings.
Chi-a-yaag ka-ki-kayn-dum-mo-waach gee-tay-bayn-dum-mo-wug ween-na-wa ay-ta chi a-yaa-waach o-zhi-bee-i-gun-nun.
Birch bark keeps well for centuries so the Anishinaabay writings are still in use for us to learn.
Wee-gos mino-shin gun-na-wayns a-mee-way Anishinaabay o-zhi-bee-i-gun-nun non-gom chi ki-kayn-da-so-yung.
We need to use our Anishinaabay knowledge in our languages.
Keen-na-weend chi a-ba-chi-too-yung Anishinaabay ki-kayn-da-so-win ka-a-tayg ka-kit-to-win-nun.
We have our songs.
We have our Anishinaabay prayers.
Ki-ta-yaa-min ki-Anishinaabay ay-mi-chi-gay-win-nun.
We have Anishinaabay stories.
Ki-ta-yaa-min Anishinaabay ta-ti-ba-chi-mo-win-nun.
Anishinaabay knowledge knows the history of the planetary system.
Anishinaabay ki-kayn-da-so-win o-ki-kayn-dan ka-kee-pih-i-zi-way-bung pah-kaan aki i-zhi-way-bung.
Anishinaabay Creation Story is in the Anishinaabay language.
Anishinaabay Ka-kee-bih-on-gee-yung Ta-ti-bah-chi-moh-win a-tay Anishinaabay-mo-win-ning.
It says that there was only silence. There was nothing here.
I-kit-to-ma-gun gee-chee-way-ma-gun ay-ta. Ka-ween kay-goon kee-a-tay-zi-noon o-maa.
This makes it known that we had the idea of the number zero at this time.
A-mee way ki-kayn-da-moh-win ki-kee-a-yaa-min in-nayn-da-moh-win a-gin-da-zo-win ka-ween-kay-gon o-maa ka-kee-pih-i-zhi-way-bung.
The beginning of our creation story starts with the Kind Spirit’s thoughts of creating the Anishinaabay life.
Ka-maa-chi-sayg ki-ka-kee-bih-on-gee-yung ta-ti-bah-chi-moh-win Ki-zhay Ma-ni-to in-da-moh-win chi o-zhi-toch Anishinaabay bi-ma-ti-zi-win.
This is known as the first Fire.
Ki-kayn-chi-ga-tay ni-tum Izh-koh-tay.
In our Anishinaabay teachings in the language there are many spirits that help us.
Peen-dig Anishinaabay ki-kayn-da-so-win-nun been-dig ka-kit-to-win a-yaa-wug neem-boh ma-ni-toog ka-wee-chee-goh-yung.
We use tobacco to communicate with the spirits.
Ki-a-ba-chi-yaa-naan a-say-ma chi ween-da-ma-gay-yung ma-ni-toog.
This is why we need to have an Anishinaabay University in our communities.
A-mee-way-tush chi a-yaa-yung Anishinaabay Ki-chi-ka-ki-noh-maa-tee-wi-gamig been-dig ka-i-zhi-ta-yung.
This is where we need to have Anishinaabay speakers teach our knowledge.
A-mee-o-maa chi a-yaa-yung Anishinaabay ka-ki-to-win-nug chi ka-ki-noh-maa-gay-waach ki-kayn-da-so-win-ni-mi-naang.
This will have our Anishinaabay language being used in our communities to bring forth our ancestral point of view.
A-mee-way-tush ki-Anishinaabay-mo-win-naam chi a-ba-chi-to-yung been-dig ka-i-shi-ta-yung chi nee-kaan a-to-yung ki-o-taa-naang ka-waa-bun-da-mung.
This will create an Anishinaabay economy that will create our speakers as teachers.
A-mee-way chi-o-zhi-too-yung Anishinaabay a-no-kee-win chi a-ba-chi-yaa-gun-ni-waach ka-kah-ki-to-waach chi ka-ki-noh-maa-gay-waach.
This will be done to bring back our language in our communities.
Chi to-chi-ka-tayg chi a-yaa-yung meen-na-wa ki-ka-ki-to-win-naam been-dig ka-i-zhi-taa-yung.
We can do this to hear the songs, prayers, stories, history and our teachings again.
Chi to-ta-mung chi non-da-mung ni-ga-mo-win-nun, ay-mi-chi-gay-win-nun, ta-ti-ba-chi-moh-win-nun, o-ta-naang ga-gee-bih-i-zhi-way-bung a-ee-tush ki-ka-ki-noh-ma-gay-win-ni-maang.
Again we will talk the Anishinaabay language in our communities.
Meen-na-wa ka-kit-to-min Anishinaabay-mo-win ka-i-zhi-ta-yung.
That is it for now.
Neen Eli Baxter