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Thirteen Moons, so far…

28 January 2010

By Reginald DeFoe and Dave Wilsey

Miigwetch! Seven monthly newspaper features and five workshops: it went fast and there is more to come. We’ve learned a lot from our workshop leaders and the members of the community who have participated in the Thirteen Moons workshops. There is so much more to learn and the people and experiences of the Fond du Lac community are a treasure trove upon which to draw. We invite anyone with knowledge or skills related to culture, natural resources, and ecology to share your gifts through Thirteen Moons, whether through a private conversation for an article, as an author for this page, or as a guest presenter at one of the upcoming workshops. Please contact FDL Resource Management Division if you are interested. This program is only as good as the people who participate.

In August, we wrote a short article about the process of interpreting the Ojibwe names for the moons and choosing which names to feature in this section.  Dan Jones stressed that there is no “right name,” and that the key lies in the interpretation. Sometimes the names are straightforward and we don’t have to spend too much time thinking about what they mean or how the name came about. For example: Manoominike giizis – wild rice moon. Sometimes the interpretation is not so simple, and perhaps is even misleading. December and January’s moon names were some of the more difficult to interpret.

Gichi manidoo giizis (great spirit moon). Manidoo giizis (spirit moon). Gichi giizis (big/great moon). Big, great, spirits…what are these names getting at. We have our own ideas, assumptions, but the truth is that we don’t know for sure. Because we don’t know and because one of the goals of this page is to reflect the wealth of knowledge and experience that exists within the community, we’d like to try something new.  We encourage those of you who have ideas or knowledge about Anishinaabe history, tradition, culture, or spirituality to share that knowledge. Tell us what you think the underlying message or messages about the monthly moon might be. Tell us what it means to you. Call FDL RMD or try sending us an email at

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