Ozaagakiig artwork by Shannon Noori
Ozaagakiig or Plants, are beings who create themselves out of minerals, water and light. They are algae, flowers, fungi, moss, grass, bushes and trees. They can be understood by the ways they grow, the way they reproduce, the way they live through the year, the place where they grow, and how they interact with other beings on earth.
The word “ozaagakiig” is made of several parts. Speakers and learners of Anishinaabemowin hear “zaagi” which is not a word on its own but is a part of many words and indicates an outward motion or opening; and the word “aki” which means land or earth or “akii” which means something that lives or exists. Because plants are recognized as animate, one plant is “ozaagakii” and more than one are “ozaagakiig.”
Anishinaabe traditions include many relationships with plants as teachers, healers and helpers. We thank them when we gather them. We often give them as gifts to others. They are an important part of our journey on earth.