Glossary MASHKIIG/Swamp-Wetland-Bank

Algic – Coined in 1839 by Henry Schoolcraft in his work Algic Researches, Algic is a term used to describe a larger language family that includes many Algonquin and Anishinaabe languages including, but not limited to Cree, Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Menominee.


Anishinaabe – Directly translated, the word “Anishinaabe” means “people whose origin is found in descending [the term does not indicate where “where from?” – the sky, the hold in the day, a mountain, a spaceship, or “to where?”  – the sky, or a mountain]” It refers to our origin narrative, but is sometimes used within Anishinaabe languages to generically mean “human.” Today the term applies to various Native Nations of people who share a common ancestry.


Anishinaabemowin – Many languages of Anishinaabe people are so closely related that the single term Anishinaabemowin, or Anishinaabe language, is used as a unifying term. 


Apocalypse – In European and Christian temporalities, refers to the end of the world. Here it is used from within Indigenous temporalities. Potawatomi philosopher Kyle Whyte notes that Indigenous peoples “have already been living in what our ancestors would have understood as dystopian or post-apocalyptic times”. Chippewa scholar Lawrence Gross builds upon the work of Gros Ventre scholar Sidner Larson, who argues that Native peoples are living post-apocalyptic conditions, “having seen the end of their respective worlds within historical memory .“… “Just as importantly, though, Indians survived the apocalypse.”


Atisokaanag – A particular set of sacred narratives or stories of the Ojibwe people; they are alive, sentient and agentic. Atsokaanag are not static. 


Binewijiid – Directly translates as “Ruffed Grouse’s Asshole” the term is a device in Ojibwe storytelling used to pause the narrative and signal a temporary closure.  


Mashkiki – Ojibwe (inanimate noun), medicine, a medicine, a drug.


Mashkiig -Ojibwe (inanimate noun), where our medicines are collected; a swamp, a muskeg.


Morpheme – The smallest part of a word that has meaning.


Wazhashk – Ojibwe (singular, animate noun), muskrat


Treaties – binding diplomatic agreements between nations. Lakota historian Nick Estes: “Indigenous nations had often entered into relations with each other for alliance, kinship, war, peace, or trade. […] agreements were made not solely between human nations, but also among nonhuman nations as well, such as the buffalo and the land. Such treaties were, and continue to be, the basis of diplomacy and the evidence of a prior and continuing status of Indigenous nation- hood.”.


Indian Treaties – the collective name for a series of treaties signed between 1774-1832 between the US federal government and sovereign Native nations. These form the foundation for establishing the sovereignty of the United States and the conceit of its legitimate possession of land on the basis of prior recognition of distinct Native nations though treaty relations among each other and with European colonial powers. Many of these treaties also coercively reconfigured Native nations, political bodies and territories to be amenable to land cessions. 


Sovereignty: Native sovereignty – we use this rather problematic shorthand to refer to Indigenous political and legal orders including, but not limited to, over 562 current tribal governments in the territories occupied by the United States. However, intellectual and political traditions of distinct Indigenous nations disrupt European conceptions of sovereignty and exceed the tribal government form. Lenape Scholar Joanne Barker refers to “polity of the Indigenous” to describe “unique yet related ethics and responsibilities of gendered and sexed land-based epistemologies, cultural protocols and practices, governance histories and laws, and sociocultural relationships”. These orders are “nation-based and often territorially-specific”. Métis/otipemisiw scholar Zoey Tod refers to Indigenous relationships with nonhuman beings as “concrete sites of political and legal exchange”. 


Sovereignty: counter-sovereignty – US sovereignty is, in legal and political terms, dependent on and in reaction to the prior and primary claims of Native peoples on the territories occupied by the United States. Mohawk scholar and activist Tataike Alfred: “European sovereignties in North America… gained legitimacy as legal entities only by the expressed consent through treaty of the original occupiers and governors of North America.” Countersovereignty is a fragile and particularly violent mode of power.


Survivance – Coining the term, Gerald Vizenor defines survivance as “an active sense of presence, the continuance of native stories, not a mere reaction, or a survivable name. Native survivance stories are renunciations of dominance, tragedy and victimry.” Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance. University of Nebraska Press, 1999: vii.


Violation: treaty violation – Violation of legal and diplomatic relations of reciprocity between human, non-human and more than human systems.