These two posters show how to recognize some (not all) species of fish in the Great Lakes region and provides their names in Ojibwe.
The Gichi-onimgaming (Grand Portage) poster was produced by the Miskawaa anang, Erik Martin Redix, the Ojibwe Language and Environmental Education Coordinator for Gichi-onigamiing, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to help community members and neighbors learn and use the Ojibwe names.
The poster was then adapted to add sunfish, large mouth bass, salmon, and muskie, all of which are commonly fished in the Cheboygan, Michigan area. This poster will hopefully someday be installed in the City of Cheboygan.
The names of fish often focus on their physical characteristics and how Anishinaabeg understood them to fit into the systems of lakes and rivers. Many of the words reference the world around us and emphasize the network of beings. Understanding the words will help you understand something about the fish. Some examples:
- “Name” appears in the names of multiple fish and means to be longer than wide.
- Adikameg (whitefish) has a dorsal fin that is like the tine of a fork (badaka’igan) or the tine of an antler on a caribou (adik).
- Ogaa (walleye) whose dorsal fin has multiple spines similar to a porcupine (gaag) and the long thin needles of the white spruce (gaawaandag) which is why the adjective “gaawaa” means to be prickly and the verb “gaawe” is one way to say to be jealous.
- Maazhimegozi (salmon) and maazhamegosens (brook trout) shows that a brook trout is thought of as a small salmon.
- The first part of these three fish words (maazhimegozi, maazhamegosens, maashkinoozhe) has the same implication although the spelling varies slightly: The “maazhi” morpheme of this consistently means to be ugly or different.
- Maashkinoozhe (muskellunge) and ginoozhe (pike) look similar to one another and both their names reference being long-snouted with one of them (maashkinoozhe) also being ugly.
Poster QR Codes
Both posters contains a QR code that when scanned, will bring the person scanning to this page where they can hear the audio below. Recordings read by Michael Zimmerman Jr.
The Cheboygan poster has five extra fish (sunfish, muskie, smelt, salmon, and smallmouth bass) that are not included on the Grand Portage poster. All audio files are below.