Iw pi egi shkewdebwetagwziyan ode zhezhosmikan. Gi gche mnozhewebes iw pi egi debwetagwziyan i mnedo msenegen ga wawidayan mine ekendasyan anet ni kenomagewnen ga temgedon zhi msenegaswenen.
This is a picture of my family, my dad and mother, my sister Marilyn and little brother Frank, and myself all spruced up after attending a church service in our humble community. My dad and mother were the ones who has started the work of building a new church and congregation on the Menominee Reservation in Northern Wisconsin. There were others who joined them in this endeavor as many felt the need to have some sort of spiritual teachings to observe. Many of them came out of the Catholic Church and some of the Ceremonial beliefs held by the mixed tribal group residing on the Reservation at that time.
Those first Believers could speak Menominee, Potawatomi, Ojibwe and one or two spoke Winnebago as well, but Menominee and Potawatomi remained the two dominant languages utilized in church services at that time. It was good to hear some of the preaching and singing in our Native tongues then. There was even a man from Stone Lake, a Potawatomi community, who could speak quite eloquently in Potawatomi and read the Bible, all in Potawatomi. We occasionally had a man who could do the same in Ojibwe and two brothers from near Wilson Michigan, the Hannahville Potawatomi conmunity who could preach and sing in Neshnabemwen. These folks would visit us quite often in those days as my parents went about the business of establishing themselves as Christian Believers on the Menominee reservation.
Such was my growing up among my older peers then. When My parents converted to Christianity about the time I turned 13, I rejected the mere thought of being a Christian and having to attend Sunday School and Church. I took to running away from home and often fled to my uncle’s house, fully expecting him to shelter me from my parents. I arrived there one Saturday afternoon to find my grandfather visiting my relatives. He asked what I was doing there and upon finding out that I regularly ran away from my parent’s home to escape having to attend church, he became quite angry with me.
He asked my uncle and aunt if this was a regular thing and why they were shielding me from my parents. He told us, as a Neshnabe boy, I owed my loyalty and respect to my parents. He told his son, my uncle that he was wrong for shielding me like that. He demanded that I be taken back then and there to my parent’s home and he accompanied us. Upon arriving at my folk’s home, he exited my uncle’s car and informed them he brought me back to do exactly whatever my parents told me to do. He instructed me that if my parents wanted me to attend church with them, then I had to do exactly that, for that is what a Neshnabe boy did to honor his parents. He further informed me that a Neshnabe child must honor his parents and show them absolute respect by listening to them, and doing whatever it was they wished in the way of spiritual practices.
It was a long time ago now but as I grew within the church, I also came to accept the teachings, which I found were not too far from the mark of traditional teachings I had grown up with. I simply came to call my God Zhezhos and many other things I grew to learn within the context of Christianity. I shall post some of those teachings or beliefs on the pages of this blog from time to time. I have lived an interesting life as a traditional believer of the early Neshnabek, having been educated by many of my older peers back then. I came to accept the God of my parents, Zhezhos and made a successful life of both for a while, but eventually came to believe fully in the teachings of the LORD God, the Elohim, Yeshuah ha Mashiach, Jesus the Christ.
Iw enajmoyan ngom…..
Nin se Neaseno.