Students, staff and faculty are wearing their Panther Pride in Ojibwe these days. New shirts featuring a headshot of Pounce the Panther looking tough are appearing all over Milwaukee which makes perfect sense. Milwaukee takes its name from the Anishinaabe phrase “minowakiing” meaning “good earth.” The campus is located on the shores of Lake Michigan (which means the great sea) and is only a short drive north of Chicago (the land of the “chigag” or skunk). Other names in the area make clear this is the land of the Niswi Shkoode, the Three Fires Confederacy of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potowatomi. Kenosha (the fish known as a pike), Mequon (feather), Wauwatosa (firefly) and Waukesha (Fox Place) are only a few of the many names that leave a trace in this place.
Practice Ojibwe with Pounce!
Here is where we belong
Note to Students:
It often helps to know what pieces of meaning are used to make a statement. In these two phrases words are made of the following parts.
Chi is a prefix that can mean “very” or “big.”
Bizhew is a “lynx” or large cat.
Chi-Bizhew is our term for “panther” which is a fierce and wild animal, but it is not The Mishibizhew who is the biggest of all big cats. Ask your elders or the ghost of Douglas Houghton the copper miner for more stories about this one.
Maampii means “here.”
Dibendagozi is a type 2 verb that means “to belong.” It is related to the type 3 verb “dibendaan” which means to own something and the type 4 verb “dibenmaa” which means to own someone or an animate thing.
Maampii Dibendaagoziyaang is a phrase conjugated as if the speaker is part of a group and considers the listeners part of another group. It’s a phrase that indicates complex diversity and people of multiple identities speaking to one another.