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Women and Biboon

1 December 2010

Historically, when the men returned to their lodges and families, they would find the women engaged in their usual and accustomed winter activities. During the winter the women used their time to make eating and cooking utensils and food containers like wiigwaasi-makuk (birch bark baskets). They fashioned clothing and foot wear from deer and moose hides they had tanned in the fall. They decorated their work with intricate designs made from porcupine quills.

Biboon, though sometimes harsh, was a time of peace and introspection for the Ojibwe people. It was a time for together- ness and teaching. This was traditionally the time for the children to hear the aadizookaanag (Aa-di-soo-kaa-nag) (legends) of how the Anishinabeg came to be, how they received the gifts of fire, birch bark, tobacco and mahnomin (wild rice). Tradition tells that when a well known relative of the Anishinabeg leaves his human form and takes the shape of wabooz (waa-booz) (the snowshoe hare), when he sits down and lights his pipe, when the smoke rises and the snow falls, that is when the legends are heard…

Mad River Canoe adopted a version of wabooz for their company logo

Excerpted from Biboon – Winter Lifeways of the Ojibwe, www.nps.gov/grpo

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