In my life I’ve seen so much discrimination towards my language and culture, and this happens in a lot of indigenous communities. People don’t understand the importance to having a language in your culture, I think that a lot of people in society make it seem like English is supposed to be everyones first language. This is not true.
Having a certain language in your culture brings a big sense of community and belonging to people. When people discriminate towards my language, the Anishnaabe language, I feel hurt. I ask myself why don’t people just learn to be accepting towards others?
I believe that this happens to many other cultures as well, diversity is huge and people still aren’t accepting of it. I wait for a time where everyone is accepted and can be who they want to be.
Local Slang: to me this means a certain accent or set of words that a group of people use. It brings a sense of community and identity within the group or culture.
Anishnaabe people or, Ojibway peoples.
The accent that my culture has is that everyone talks slurred and everyone talks really loud. It’s considered to be a “nish accent”. A lot of Anishnaabe people speak with this accent, there are many dialects and many other groups and cultures that have different accennts like, Cree people.
What I mean by slurred is that we make a lot of shortcuts when speaking, slurring words. A very popular one that you hear all over is “skoden”, sounds silly but everyone who speaks with a nish accent will say this when they are meaning to be saying “let’s go then” to someone else. Exaggerated and loud means that everyone speaks very loud. It’s like everyones yelling at each other, but not meaning too. Why? I don’t know, that’s just how we talk.
Side note: One time, the word “skoden” was spray painted on a water tower in a city and people started taking it as a threat in a way. Not knowing what the word really meant, you can see an article on it here.
Another thing that I noticed is that we say the word “ever” in front of everything. For example; ever deadly, ever sick, ever gross, ever sad, and the list could go on and on.
Living in my community all my life, I also talk like this. Especially adding the “ever” in front of everything.
In Moon of the Crusted Snow the story took place in a place called Gaawaandagkoong First Nation. This community is located way up north. So when things went sour (cell service/internet went out, power went out, and there was no food delivery) they had nobody to contact to see what was going wrong.
I would not liked to have lived in this community during this time period because these people could not go anywhere because it was winter, and the snow was coming down hard leaving there be no way in or out of the community. I would feel like I was trapped. Trapped in the sense that I would have nowhere to go, the only option that was there for me was to sit there and wait, wait for the time to come where the community would run out of the stashed food.
Novel: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
How I felt..
While reading the first couple chapters of this novel, I felt connected to the book in a way and immediately intrigued. As an example, in the first chapter when Evan was out hunting I understood why he was hunting and why he needed to put semaa (tobacco) down after his kill. To me it is interesting to read about other small reserves and compare it to my reserve.
Images that stood out to me..
Again, in chapter one they explain how it is impending winter. They talk a lot about the scenery in the first couple pages. I could imagine the field, the crisp air, the mooz standing in the field of yellowed grass in front of a sunset so clearly in my mind. This once again made me feel some kind of connection to the book.
As I read, i gained new insights or understanding on the hunting process. Before reading I had already understood but, I mean i gained more insight on how other people do it in different reserves & in different places. For example, I assume that all these people do is hunt, skin, harvest hide, make moccasins, gloves, and pouches. And that i understand because, that is how they live, how they survive. The stuff that gets delivered up there to them (like food) is always super expensive & as they say, not the same.
I have a connection to this book. I come from a small reserve just like the characters in the story. I understand what it is like, having expensive, not good, food come into the store around here. Meat at our grocery store is really expensive and our we have dry bread (those are just examples), I can’t imagine how it is up North.
Questions I have..
What reserve is this story based around? (if any..)
Answer: Looking at this quote by Julia Penelope, you notice that she speaks about how we use the power of language and turn it into a reality. I find this to be true because, I find that people use language as a way to gain power and also as a way to maintain their power. Looking into the story “The Island” you see how the police use their authority to make a lot of calls over the fate of the man, in a way. For example, the police were trying to convince the doctors and the social worker that this man was crazy (paragraph 42). They (the police) seemed to be trying to get rid of the man the whole time. They used their words to show that they withhold a type of power over the man.