Songs for the Changing Year

Binaakwe-giizis Nagomowin (October Song)

Ruffed Grouse drumming on log taken in central MN

Binaakwe-giizis is a song for the season when the wind causes more leaves to be on the ground than in the trees, moose calls are made by hunters, and pheasants end up on dinner tables. It is also the time for remembering the ones no longer in this world by putting out a spirit plate or inviting friends and family to share a ghost supper and exchange stories and memories.

For those of you familiar with the long slow call of a moose, and the drumming sounds made by a pheasant, this song echoes the moose in the first two lines and the pheasant in the last two lines.

A row of flowers in the Woodland art style by Neebin Southall


It is October

We are raking

binaakweg binibagaag
off the tree the leaves are falling

dakeyaag dagwaagining.
as it turns cold in autumn.

It is October

gigiiwosemin noopiming
We are hunting in the woods

nandamoozweyang aho
we hunt the moose

nandabineweyang ho
we hunt the partridge.

It is October

gimikwendaamin mewenzha
we are remembering long ago

mikwenimangwaa noongom
we remember them today

the anishinaabeg here in spirit.

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