Clan Systems Used By Anishinaabe – Term Paper Example
Clan Systems Used by Anishinaabe Background The story behind the origin of the Anishinaabe people is somewhat identical to the creation story of the bible. It is believed that the first Anishinaabe was created by god and given the mandate to name all animals, insects and fish. He did as instructed and afterward he was given the name Nanabohzo by God. This community is recorded to have originated from the east and followed the path along the great lakes to settle in what is commonly known as their `fourth stopping place` along the Atlantic ocean. Their way of life revolved around fishing and hunting and gathering to provide for their daily nutritional needs. During the early days, Anishinaaabe came up with a system of writing to record events that were based on pictures (Nativetech).
They lived a structured life organized into clans each of which had certain specified responsibilities to carry out. The purpose of the Anishinaabe clan system was to provide a system of governance as well as well to divide the labor among the people of the community so that each person knows what is expected of them depending on the clan which they fall under. This was so as to ensure for the provision of food, security, shelter, medical services and governance/ leadership. In addition to a well set out clan system, the Anishinaabe people also lived by some teachings commonly referred to as the seven grandfather`s teachings. These teachings are: wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth (Henry).
Originally, this community had seven clans each if which had an animal name, also known as a totem, which was symbolic to their nature and duties. Each person was born into one clan and grew to embrace and fulfill the duties which were expected of him or her. These clans were: Moshkas who were the leaders and are also referred tm as the crane clan; Miinawa Maand who are the chiefs and are also known as the loon clan. These two clans are what formed the governing system and they complemented each other. They also acted as a check on the activities of each other; Giignoh also known as the fish clan. They were considered to be wise and their role was to act at arbitrators between the leaders and the chiefs in case of an argument. They had the knowledge to do this because they were also the teachers and scholars and mainly taught the children. This clan is divided into different segments namely the bottom feeders, migrating, top eaters, territorial, late and early spanners and turtles who are the heads of the clan. Each of these segments had a different role to play; Makwa clan had the role of keeping an eye on the woods to look out for any signs of danger. In doing so, they gathered a lot of knowledge on trees, roots and shrubs which were used as medicine. They are also known as the bear clan; Wawashkesh also known as the deer clan were characterized by a calm nature. They were advocates for peace and harmony among the community members and they also wrote poetry. In addition to that, they had the role of building of houses for the entire community and management of recreation activities; Waabizhishi were brave and skillful in battle. They fought to protect the people from attacks from other communities. In addition to this, they also hunted and gathered food for the community; Binenhshiinh were very spiritual and they could see into the future. They guided the community on spiritual matters. They are the bird clan which has several categories namely insect eaters, seed eaters, water fowl, land fowl, treedwellers (Pheasant).
The clan system was efficient in that it catered for all the needs of the community. The clans worked in harmony since everybody knew their responsibilities and what was expected of them. As efficient as this clan system was in the olden days, such a kind of system would not work in the modern society. For a system like that to be successful in its operation there needs to be a certain level of immobility of people whereby people are more or less confined to a certain region. In today’s world, improvements in transport technology means that people can easily travel around and as thus will not be present to perform their duties. Another reason why such a system of governance would not work is because of the adopted education systems. Through education, people learn and chose what it is that they want to specialize in as opposed to having it decided for you by some sort of predetermined formula like in the clan system.
In conclusion, the Anishinaabe people lived a simple but well structured life. Their organization is admirable consideration the level of civilization at that point in time as they lived by certain principles and had a well organized system of governance that worked well for them.
Henry, Lawrence. Anishinaabe clan system . n.d.
Nativetech. "Ojibiwe." 2014. Native tech: native American technology and art. 13 Decenber 2014 .
Pheasant, Kenny. The seven original cans. 2014. 13 December 2014 .