Months & Moons

Traditionally, one month was the period from one full moon to the next full moon. There are 13 of these cycles as the earth orbits around the sun through the four seasons. There are many ways that nature reminds us of these cycles. One way to remember these moons is through the symbolism of the turtle’s back.

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The Thirteen Moons and Turtle's Back

To learn more about counting the moons on a turtle’s back download this worksheet made by Megan Cunningham.
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We have included month names in both Western and Eastern dialects although it should be noted that many people in different areas use different names for these or different names based on what they observe happening in their region. The Eastern dialect names are taken from the Wikwemikong Heritage Organization.

English Western Dialect Eastern Dialect
January Gichimanidoo-giizis (Great Spirit Moon) Manidoo-giizis (Spirit Moon)
February Namebini-giizis (Suckerfish Moon) Mkwa-giizis (Bear Moon)
March Onaabani-giizis (Snowcrust Moon) Onaabdin-giizis (Snowcrust Moon)
April Iskigamizige-giizis (Sugarbushing Moon) Pokwaagami-giizis (Broken Snowshoe Moon)
May Zaagibagaa-giizis (Budding Moon) Namebine-giizis (Suckerfish Moon)
June Odemiini-giizis (Strawberry Moon) Baashkaabigonii-giizis (Blooming Moon)
July Abitaa-niibini-giizis (Halfway Summer Moon) Miin-giizis (Berry Moon)
August Manoominike-giizis (Ricing Moon) Manoominike-giizis (Ricing Moon)
September Waatebagaa-giizis (Leaves Turning Moon) Waabaagbagaa-giizis (Leaves Turning Moon)
October Binaakwe-giizis (Falling Leaves Moon) Binaakwe-giizis (Falling Leaves Moon)
November Gashkadino-Giizis (Freezing Over Moon) Baashkaakodin-Giizis (Freezing Moon)
December Manidoo-Giizisoons (Little Spirit Moon) Manidoo-Giizisoons (Little Spirit Moon)

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