Words and Phrases for Natural Resources

Across the globe, Indigenous communities are respected as some of the best stewards of the environment. This is certainly true in Gichi-Onigaming where the Grand Portage Lake Superior Band of Chippewa protects shared natural resources through the Grand Portage Trust Lands Agency. With five departments and the support of their elected leadership they work each day to protect the air, land, water, plants and animals.

To read more about their work and see their Guiding Principles related to climate adaptation visit their website https://www.grandportageband.com/tribal-land-resources/

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

To think about the concepts of climate stewardship in Anishinaabemowin, refer to the list below:

Trustlands Departments

Grand Portage Trust Lands Agency – Gichi-Onigaming Akiin Gezhaadangig (Grand Portage land guardians)

Grand Portage Natural Resources Management – Bagwaaji-inaadiziwinan Ganawendaagwadoon (natural life being cared for)

Department of Forestry – Mitigwakiin Izhi-Ganawendaagwadoon (department of woodlands being protected)

Departments of Biology and Environment – Aanike-bemaadizijig Izhi-Nandagikendaan (department of studying the connectedness of living systems)

Conservation Law Enforcement Department – Izhi-Bamendaagwadoon Ganawendamowin (department of paying attention to conservation)

The Roads and Realty Department – Miikanan miinawaa Diba’igaadewan Akiin (roads and property)

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

In recent years people have used “land acknowledgements” to recognize the rights and history of the places where they currently live and work. Vallen Cook, the current leader of Grand Portage Trust Lands Agency, has taken this practice one step farther by asking Margaret Noodin for a poem to share the beauty of his home when he goes visiting. The following poem was written for him and we hope it inspires everyone to write or find a poem about the place that sustains you, the place that loves you, the place you honor and care for each day.


I greet each of you

apii babaami-ayaayaan
when I travel

bearing stories of

mineral mountains

a small sacred cedar

a basalt circle of absence

gaye giiwedin-anang.
and a star that can lead one home.

Indonjiba Gichi-Onigaming
I come from the portage place

besho Gichi-gaaming
beside the great inland sea

where high falls

openly flow into

omiimi-ziibing mikwendang.
a river that remembers.

Gimaada’oozhin ezhi-gaaskanazowaad
I share with you the whispers of

zesegaandagoog, mina’igoog, zhingobiig
black spruces, white spruces, balsams

miinawaa biisaandago-zhingwaakoog
and white pines

alive and singing to

moozoog, migiziwag
moose, eagles

ginoozheg miinawaa ogaag
pikes and walleyes

gikendaamowaad gakina
who know we all

wii-waabandamang giizhigong
see in the same sky

nasaab jiibayag niimi’idiwag.
the same dance of souls.

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