Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What to know in Indigenous Language part 1

Language is a fluid thing, it is magical to hear the words our people flowing through the air. Ojibwe is a musical language with a lot of complex verbs and words. The first thing that you have to know in the language is that how to introduce yourself. 

Hello - Boozhoo

My name is                                     -                 Nidishnakaaz

My family is                                   -                 Inoodewiziwin

My clan is                                       -                 Niin doodem

I live in                                           -                  Abiitan

How are you?                                 -                  Aniish na?

Emergency Phrases

Yes                                                  -                   Eya
No                                                   -                   Gaawin
Please                                              -                   Daga
Thank you                                       -                   Miigwetch
Help me                                          -                    Wiidookaazo  niin
I don't know                                   -                     Wegodogwen
I want                                             -                     Niin  Nandawenim
How much?                                   -                     Aaniin Minik
Where is                                        -                     Aandi
bathroom/restaurant/hotel             -                     Miiziiwigamig/Wiisiniiwigamig/Noogishkaawigamig
Taxi please                                    -                     Bimiwizhiwewidaabaan  Daga
I need a doctor                              -                     Niin Noondese  Mashkikiiwinini

You also need to know the culture. In Ojibwe it is rude to point with your finger. It is also rude to interrupt elders when they are talking. You just listen and don't ask questions. These are a few things to remember, as long as you remember respect, you should be okay.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New Years Resolution Update

I think that when people think of resolutions it is easy to push them aside for another time but if you think of them as goals, you are more likely to achieve them throughout the year. 


  1. Publish two fiction books - Book 2 of Reflections Series (I have the book back from the editor and need to start on the edits) and Book 3 of The Light Chronicles (I am halfway through the edits for this book and I am working on the cover)
  2. Publish language game book (This book has 137 games, I have realized that creating the board games is challenging, however I have made a decent dent in the games, I think that it helps that they are all developed).
  3. Set up and teach online classes (I have filmed my first video for one of the classes, it takes a lot to get the classes set up but it will be worth it.)
  4. Teach at Art Centers in New Mexico ( I already have two classes plan at Los Alamos - creative writing and acting, which will be held in April. I may also be teaching summer art classes.)  
  5. Organizing and downsize my art supplies ( I donated a lot to the local high school art class and given away a lot, I almost have everything downsized.)
  6. Paint more, Write More (I have one painting in the works and I have four cradleboards that I am batik painting that I am creating, I have also been editing books and writing down book ideas, I have also been writing a lot of poetry for the new book. ) 


  1. Lose 10 pounds (I started out at 181 and now I am down to 178 so I lost 3 pounds and I have not had time to work out. So I plan on scheduling workout time, so I can reach my goal.) 
  2. Organize and downsize belongings ( I have almost gone through everything and I will need to go through everything again.)
  3. Dance (I have made it a point to have fun moments with my kids, which include dancing.)
  4. Learn more of my language ( I have looked up and am using comprehensible input and I have cds with the elders telling stories, I love hearing the flow of the language)
  5. Smile more (I have my moments of sadness, especially with everything going on personally, however I have smiled more.)
I think that I have made good starts at everything that is listed. I will keep going and keep everyone updated. 

I hope you have a creative and great year.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Changes with the business

I just wanted to inform everyone that I am stepping away from photography. I am going to focus on cradleboards but mainly on Batiks and Books.

The plan to create at least one or two paintings a month. I also plan to publish four books this year - two fantasy books ( Light Chronicles Book 3) and (Reflections Series Book 2), Poetry Book 3 and Language Book.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Indigenous People in Business - 8th Generation

Louie Gong is the founder of 8th Generation and he has done amazing things in the past years and seems to not be near a stopping point. I met him when I became a First Peoples Fund (Artist in Business Leadership Grant winner). Louie is down to earth and has great advice.

He has brought his business to Pike Place Market and has made it a must stop at destination. He has brought in new artists and created an experience to share but also educate about Native Art.

He has created the Inspired Native Project and the Inspired Native Grant. Educating people about being inspired native instead of art inspired by natives. He is helping other artists with his Inspired Native Grant, opening up new doors for artists.

He is also giving back to the community by donating blankets and helping with the transformation of a homeless shelter. He keeps giving to those he sees in need, and always seems to remember where he started and where he comes from.

I can definitely say that I am an Inspired Native. If you want to see some great art, learn about what 8th generation is going to do next, visit their website.

I look forward to seeing their next project and step. Thank you for inspiring and showing what determination can do for a Native Business and the Native Community as a whole.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

7 Reasons Organizing Can Help You Live Traditionally

  •     You can get rid of the extra things in your life. We use to only have what we could carry because we use to move the camps often.
  •        You can be more focused. Our people were very productive and got a lot done, necessary for survival.
  •  You know what you have. Everything that is around you is useful, if not it should not be there.
  •    You know your goals. You have something to look forward to and this will give you purpose.
  •        Lists can help you stay on task. When you stay on task, your life will have more balance.
  •    If the clutter is gone. You will be more peaceful and active.
  • You can organize your homework, notes and school assignments. So you will be successful in school and college. Which will help you be successful and you can show what are people can be, strong.

Our people were strong, brave, generous, respectful people. We can get back to that and show the rest of our people and the world that we are proud to be Ojibwe, Lakota, and all the other tribal people. We are not people to be pity and given handouts, we can stand on our own feet and make amazing changes for our future. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Third Generation Language Learner

Third Generation Language Learner 

It is said that total immersion is essential to learn the language, however when you are by yourself it is hard. I know that when I speak my language I make mistakes every day and sometimes completely fluent seems impossible. My mother was not a speaker and she knows some words but does not speak on a regular basis. My grandfather was fluent but I only heard him speak once, because he was afraid to speak our language. Coming from this situation and trying to learn at the same time teach my children proves to be challenging.

 I believe that when you speak the language you make a change in the brain on how to talk and then it becomes hard to go back to English. Speaking the language is not just words but also a way of life.

I have went to language camps and classes where they say they will only speak the language. Then when people are put in that situation they struggle and it is easier to speak English, so it is not encouraged but not discouraged either.

When I would speak only the language to my children when we homeschooled, it would be an hour of frustration for them. I wouldn’t answer them if they asked in English, I would say “Wegodogwen ikido (I don’t know what you say.)” They would walk around the house with their Ojibwe dictionaries and sometimes it would be a very quiet hour. In some ways this is traditional too, why fill the air with noise just to be noisy. You should think about the value of the words you say before they are uttered. It was an experience I should have continued.

It is not just about the words or vocals, there is a flow and a rhythm to the language. Sometimes that is how I know I am saying a word wrong. If you know the rhythm and your speech does not flow, then it is you not the language. It is easy to say to be around people who speak and listen to the way things are said. When tribal members live everywhere around the US and world, sometimes that is a hard task to accomplish. I found videos of the elders speaking to each other and telling stories. This is one piece of the puzzle but I have yet to find a speaker that I can have regular conservations with.
One of the elders told me, “You’d better learn the language because this is your role for the tribe. We have a responsibility to keep the language going. The language belongs to all of us, and the only way to keep it going is to share.”

SO . . .for learners.
          Ask for help.
          Never give up.
          Make mistakes.
          Remember – the more you use the language, the more you try – you will get better.
          Use the language for prayer.
          Try to put words together and say what you are trying to get across – eventually it will come naturally.

          For the teachers:
          Be ready to help.
          Make it relatable – you can only go so far with colors and numbers.
          Know the drive to learn is in knowing that it is going to be used.
          Do you teach in a way that your students want to learn?
          Encourage: Be respectful and learn how to correct without criticizing or embarrassing the student.
          When someone is trying to learn – don’t go automatically to English, give them a chance to try.

Speaking our language is a blessing, sometimes the kids forget that. The kids need to know that it is okay to be Indigenous and be proud of their language and culture. I always tell the kids, mine and others that language is sacred. You should watch what you say, because cursing is so common it is in their every minute discussions. There was a reason that our languages did and do not have bad words. Maybe if the youth thought about their words and actions more than we would still have our values.

Without language:
          We can’t define ourselves as well as we like.
          We can’t connect to the other world.
          We can’t sing our songs.
          We can’t join in as easily in cultural ceremonies.
Language interlocks with cultural.

Having a commitment is everything – with definite resolve. We must include everyone. We can speak and be fluent in our language if we decide it is worth the effort.

My question for the week: Do you think we need to find new ways to connect to our children? Do you find it negative or positive to blend or bring storytellers into modern situations?

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year Resolutions 2018

New Year Resolutions 2018 

New Painting: Deer Dancer

Everyone always ask me what are my New Year Resolution and I struggle most of the time to come up with even one item. However, this year I have broke my resolutions down into categories to help me focus on what I would like to accomplish.


  1. Publish two fiction books - Book 2 of Reflections Series and Book 3 of The Light Chronicles (long over due) 
  2. Publish language game book (I am really excited about this one)
  3. Set up and teach online classes (The classes are going to cover self-publishing, cradleboards and a lot of different classes about writing and running a small business)
  4. Teach at Art Centers in New Mexico ( I already have two classes plan at Los Alamos - creative writing and acting)  
  5. Organizing and downsize my art supplies ( I need to focus on batiks, photography, and books)
  6. Paint more, Do more Photography, Write More ( Sometimes I let everything overshadow the things that I love) 


  1. Lose 10 pounds (we all know this is a popular one to add and I have to add it - I should say 20 pounds but if I keep my goal small I know I can do it) 
  2. Organize and downsize belongings ( It amazes me how much stuff we gather over time - I have already gotten rid of around 50 bags of stuff)
  3. Dance ( I love dancing, but since we have moved I haven't- so I have to add this)
  4. Learn more of my language ( this should actually be number one)
  5. Smile more ( life throws us all some curve balls sometimes hitting us on the head but I need to remember that I am blessed and to smile and share the beauty of the world)
I think that 11 goals is a good start and I will post if and when I accomplish them. I may even get enough done that I can add or modify them. I am excited for the new year and what it can bring.

I hope you have a creative and great year.