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About 13 Moons

The world was created when muskrat brought mud from the bottom of the flood to be placed on turtle’s back. The turtle’s shell has thirteen central plates, called scutes. The traditional Ojibwe calendar year follows a 13 moon lunar cycle. The names of each moon are influenced by natural phenomena, animal activity, and cultural practices and beliefs. Because the area in which Ojibwe is spoken is so vast, not all Ojibwe people use the same names for the moons.

Thirteen Moons addresses an identified need to physically and culturally re-connect Fond du Lac (FDL)community members with traditional natural resources. The program emerged from a 2008 listening session and needs assessment that focused on Band members’ perspectives on natural resources and their use. The assessment was funded by the Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) and was developed and undertaken as a collaboration of Fond du Lac’s Resource Management Division (RMD) and University of Minnesota Extension, including faculty from Forestry and Youth/4H.
The traditional Ojibwe calendar year follows the 13-moon lunar cycle. Each moon is named for a natural phenomenon – the activity of a seasonally active animal, an important cultural practice or belief, or a prevalent environmental condition. Thirteen Moons taps into this cycle to fortify the physical and cultural link between Ojibwe people and their natural environment. There are two components to the program.

The first component is a monthly feature printed in the Fond du Lac tribal newspaper under the Thirteen Moons banner. Each feature is thematically centered on the month’s moon and contains educational content related to culture, ecology, and management. Content and page design is a collaborative effort.

The second component is a thirteen-course series, each course based upon the corresponding Ojibwe moon and offered as closely as possible to its cycle. The courses target members of the FDL community.

Thirteen Moons is a monthly production of Fond du Lac Resource Management Division and University of Minnesota Extension. Content is based on the appropriate moon, and addresses culture, ecology, and the management of natural resources. Comments and contributions should be directed to FDL Resource Management @ 218.878.8001

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nakina permalink
    23 August 2010 09:39

    Hi, my name is Nakina and I work with Aboriginal families by providing free program, parent support and school readiness in our centre. I teach a little Ojibway and help out by giving information about our culture. I was wondering what are the thirteen moons for each month of a calendar year? Thanks for your time and I look forward to your reply.


    • David Wilsey permalink*
      23 August 2010 10:32

      Chi Miigwech for your question. The moon names differ by band/region and even over time. Newer interpretations have come up to be used alongside older ones. The names can sometimes be traced to the emergence of new societal trends such as agriculture, Christianity, etc. As a resource for moon names we have primarily used a calendar that we found on the Wisconsin Ojibwe Radio website
      I would recommend that you search ” ojibwe calendar ” and it should come right up. This calendar gives a few names for each moon, which is attributable to what I have written above.
      Please send another note if that does not work for you. Good luck with your teachings and please consider 13 Moons a resource at your disposal!


      PS, if it works, this is the link:
      <a href="WOJB Calendar “>
      WOJB Calendar

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