Culture Bearer Series with James Kaagegaabaw Vukelich

James Kaagegaabaw Vukelich, known for his spiritual teachings, discusses the traditional teachings of Anishinaabeg in the second of the Culture Bearer series by the Tomaquag Museum. For Vukelich, an educator and linguist who lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, learning his ancestral language of Ojibwe has been “a fascinating story about myself that had never been told”—an opportunity to connect to his culture in a way that was previously unavailable to him. Click here for the 58-minute YouTube video from May 10, 2022.

Assistant Director of the Tomaquag Museum Mars “Silver Moon” LaRose introduced Vukelich, who began by saying that his great great grandfathers had experienced wooly mammoths and the ice sheets that covered the northern part of North America many generations ago.

Using the Ojibwe words for himself (Niin),grandfather (Nimishoomis) and grandchildren (Indaanikoobijigan), he described the seven generations of his relatives.

The phrase ‘sleeping giant’ (seen in the photo above) is the English translation of the Ojibwe word ‘Wenabozho,’ the title Native Americans gave the Laurentian divide that eventually brought to the surface great deposits of iron, now known as Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Vukelich ends his talk by describing the four levels of Anishnaabe governance and responds to a question about modern day tribal governance and whether it embodies the best of Ojibwe spiritual beliefs.