Native Village 
Youth and Education News

October 2012

Ojibwe women singers learn from their ancestors' voices
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/
Condensed by Native Village

 

Minnesota: Elizabeth Jaakola didn't hear women singing during her childhood on the Fond du Lac reservation. The Ojibwe woman said men were in charge of the songs. Women stood in the background.

Things are changing. Jaakola is the creator of Oshkii Giizhik, or New Day Singers. The ensemble of Ojibwe women singers are finding artistic success on the reservation and beyond.  They won the 2009 Native American Music Award for their first CD titled, "It Is A New Day" and are working on a second recording project.

Oshkii Giizhik's message is that women have always had leadership roles in Ojibwe culture. Now it's time to return to "that balance between a male and female," Jaakola said. "Using our voices is really important in that process."

All their songs have a story or a legend behind them, including "The Strong Woman's Song." Jaakola learned the music from an elder who said Ojibwe women in a Canadian prison sang the song to stay safe during a prison riot.


STRONG WOMAN'S SONG

One selection, "The Anishinaabekwe Song," calls Anishinaabe women back to the circle and culture. Jaakola doesn't know the song's origins, only that it's been around for a long time.

The Oshkii Giizhik Singers rehearse every week at Fond du Lac Community College. Attendance is spotty as members balance family, jobs and transportation. About 10 members perform with the group.  More than 40 Anishinaabe women have been a part of the group at various times.

Fond du Lac band member Darcy St. John said singing has helped her kick her smoking habit.

"I can finish a whole vocable or a whole lead now, where, you know before I'd run out of breath, and then I'd complain because the song was going too fast," she said.

The Oshkii Giizhik singers have a wide range of vocal experience. Christal Moose sings in-groups and solos. She's said singing traditional tunes with other Ojibwe women fills a void.

"I love music, I sing constantly," she said. "I feel like I'm growing more and more into who I was created to be."

Native Village Home Page

Native Village Gina Boltz
To receive email notices of Native Village updates, please send your email address to: NativeVillage500@aol.com
To contact us, email NativeVillage500@aol.com

 Backgrounds: www.robertkaufman.com

Thank you to ALL the wonderful individuals,  friends, organizations, groups, news services and websites who share or donate their research, work, time and talents to make Native Village possible
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and educational purposes only.
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.  Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country. NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and informational materials to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written in full by the credited author at the credited source link. We are responsible for format changes and additional photos, art, and graphics which boost visual appeal and add dimension to the reading experience. Pictures and graphics not appearing with the original article are either credited on the page or by right-clicking the picture. Some may be free or by sources unknown.
Please contact us with any copyright corrections so we may properly credit the source.
 We are not responsible for changes to outside websites and weblinks. Please notify us if any problems arise.