Enendeman Ngom

Why I love my language and culture.

I have some pretty extreme thoughts about my language and the way I view it. My language is very important to me as it is the preferred way I choose to commune with the Spirit of all Life, i.e., God, Mamogosnan, Yahweh, etc., etc. Prayers are private thoughts I have and I do not really care to share what I am thinking about in that regard, nor what it is I am conveying to the Holy God in my communications with him.

I have come to treat my language as a living thing as it does emanate from me, a living being to another living being, God Almighty. Favorite words or terms of expression are to be treated with a high degree of respect and honor then, in my way of thinking. Of course, I don’t speak for anyone else, nor do I advocate that anyone else should emulate me. If something I say does hit a chord within your heart, then by all means help yourself, but do not repeat what I do just because I say this is what I do.

I use words to worship the God of my being accordingly then. Lifting up his name for me is one aspect of my worship of him. Praising him for the works he has done either for me or someone else I know of is another way I demonstrate my love and affection for him. Viewing and reminding him how powerful he is and how he has dealt with other cultures in the past is something I regularly do as well. I never forget how tender and forgiving he has been toward me and the way he has responded to my sinful life in forgiveness. I will always praise him for reaching out to me in compassion and grace.

I do this all within the framework of the language I was born with, which is Bodewadmi. It means a lot to me to be able to pray and commune with my God in the tongue he gave my people. To do this within the cultural framework has become important also. To be able to stand outside, rain or snow, sunshine or darkness, out on the land, free of other noises which often pollute or contend with whenever I worship. I also like to crawl inside a sweat lodge and worship my Lord and Savior from that concept. It is not something others would do, but because I am Neshnabe, I feel close to my Lord using my original language and some of the cultural ways of my people.

Sometimes being inside a building is necessary depending on what kind of weather we are experiencing, but I like to be in the great outdoors when I worship my God. When Jesus walked this Earth with his disciples it was all outdoors most of the time, with the exception of worshiping in a synagogue periodically. So the God knows my heart and soul of why I feel this way about worship.

A final thought: Neshnabe ndaw i ye i emendokasyan ga wje zhechkewat gi gete neshnabek ngotek mno wi pi.

Nin se Neaseno.

Published by neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

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