Jibwaa Gi’wiisinimin (Before We Eat)
This short prayer was written by the evening language class at the Milwaukee Indian Community School. Parents and community members come to practice speaking so that the children of the school can share what they learn and together families can work to restore the language to their lives. One thing everyone needed was a prayer for those occasions when even the newest speakers and most humble students are put on the spot and asked to give thanks before a meal. It is important to understand the words so that the sentiment is real rather than memorized. This is only one version of what a person might say and while it is simple, it is powerful and flexible. Learn all the words, use them in this prayer and other sentences.
Aambe Anishinaabemodaa epiichi anami’aaying.
Before We Eat
||We all are eating
||How we Pray
||g’miigwechwigo (Note 1)
||we all thank you
||ayaayang. (Note 2)
|We are happy
|We thank you all
||Muses of Tradition (Note 3)
|In the west (Note 4)
|We thank them,
|We all thank you,
||past gave to us
|I thank all of yous
|I thank all of you who have come here today.
(1) If you are saying this prayer alone before your own meal you may wish to say “g’miigwechin” (I thank you) instead.
(2) It’s ok to say this sentence with or without the “ayaayang” – The difference is “We are happy here on earth” versus “We are happy being here on earth.”
(3) You can say this line as if you are speaking to the Aadizookanag or not. “G’miigwechwigom” says “We all thank you all” or “N’miigwechwiaanaanig” says “We all thank them”
(4) In some places the west is epaangishimong (where it sinks)
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