Giiwenamaw (To Exchange Gifts)

This song was composed in 2021 as a Land and Water acknowledgement for the City of Milwaukee. It was written by Margaret Noodin and made into a video by Finn Ryan (of The Ways) with help from Trestleworks. The video features: the Menominee River, Anishinaabemowin, the University of Milwaukee Chi-Bizhiwag Dewe’igan, Diane Amour, Nathon Breu, Marcus Carriaga, Lacey Goodrich, Celeste Clarke, Lake Michigan and Miller Park. It is a testament to resilience, Urban Indians, Native American students, big drum tradition and the way everything changes while staying the same.

Land and water acknowledgements have become more common in recent years as people reexamine their connection to place and the political history of our nations. This project is an example of creating a way to acknowledge not only the indigenous stewards of the past, but also their voices as they echo into the present.

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Hostile Terrain 94 Project

The video will be featured as part of the Hostile Terrain 94 project in Milwaukee at The Emile H. Mathis Art Gallery.

The gallery is part of the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a non-profit research-art-education-media collective, directed by anthropologist Jason De León.

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Giiwenamaw Lyrics

Giiwenamaw omaa besho Michigaming
Give things in exchange here by the Great Sea

Bi-dagoshineg da-nisidotamok
when you arrive you should know

Ginigawina-mowaad gikenda-mowaad
they mix things together what they know

Manoominiig,Wiinibiigoog, Boodewaadamiig
Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Potawatomi people

Waya heyo waa heyo way

Giiwenamaw mino-aki, mino-nibii
(Give things in exchange good land, good water)

ge-dibaajimoyang debwetamok
as we tell stories that are true

ezhi-babaamendamang waabaashkaag
about the way we care for waves

maaminonenimiyangidwaa waawaateseg, miskwaabiimizhiig
and are amazed by fireflies and red willow

Waya heyo waa heyo way

Giiwenamaw dibishkoo o’okomisibanan
Give things in exchange like a long-ago grandmother

adizookaanag da-gikinaamaagooyeg
stories can teach you

ji-maada’oonidiyeg gaye maamakaadendameg
to be generous with one another and amazed

Miikoonegwaa miikwaanagong, mashkiigakiing, miinowaking
(when they find you on this island, the living land, the Good Land

Waya heyo waa heyo way

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