Note: The Hownikan will share a series of columns this year by Minisa Crumbo Halsey. This is the first in a series that focuses on traditional Anishnabé star knowledge. Crumbo Halsey recommends viewing the Star Chart created by Kyle Malott, Pokogan Band Language Department available at and downloading the Sky Guide smartphone app to locate the constellations in the series.

Bode’wadmi Nengo^sek Star Chart courtesy of Kyle Malott, Pokogan Band Potawatomi

By Minisa Crumbo Halsey

Bozho Nikon, Hello. My bone,

Let us, Anishnabé, begin by ‘making a prayer’ of gratitude and thanks for all of the gifts:

Nengosek: the Star Beings
Sekmekwe: our Mother Earth
Gizes: our Father-Sky Sun
Debek-Gizes: the Grandmother Moon

Mamogosnan, Creator… we pray that we might see clearly and be seen clearly … and walk the straight path laid down for us in the Seven Grandfather’s Teachings, which give us the Good Ways by which we might live.


Humility. Dbaadendiziwin
Bravery. Aakwa’ode’ewin
Honesty. Gwekwaadziwin
Wisdom. Nbwaakaawin
Truth. Debewin
Respect. Mnaadendimowin
Love. Zaagidwin

Aho! Nikanni je naaaaamno waben my relatives!

It is sunrise and the light is pushing back the dark. The light is awakening our world just as the night protects all things and makes visible our star relatives in the night sky. We awaken from the star lit night to a sun star lit day of the eighth sun prophesy.

Each of us, the long hairs, the newborn among us, the children and the elders, teens, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandparents, husbands and wives, all. We are each and everything one of us drawing and receiving our first conscious breaths, our next conscious breaths and remembering ourselves alive in a living world … a living world of heartbeat, breath, movement and blood memory.

As Nishnabé, First Nations and the two-legged lowered down, we remember, whoever and whatever we are or appear to be, our native blood, heartbeat and connection to the Creator and the land. No matter our lifestyle or gene pool we are Indian and that is the most precious and mysterious gift of Spirit connection ever to be conceived of or lived.
Through our personal, familial, tribal affiliations and collective ceremonies we have a sacred charge to reach out, participate in and to support ourselves and our people…and to not forget who we are and what we have.

Much of our removal culture requires the hard work of recovery, remembrance and renewal, with some things like excessive fear, sorrow and anger … softened, forgiven or retired … as possible. As tribes in various stages of recovery, the eighth prophesy speaks of progressive renewal … that is … not only language and cultural recovery but by the creation of new things that we may grow forward, fresh, inspired, healthy and strong.

It is sunrise. Enthusiasm and willingness call each one of us forward to be “breathed alive” even in the face of challenges, responsibilities, issues and limitation.
Let us remember: we are the sacred … and to never forget.

Let us remember to greet the Gizes-Father Sky Sun and ask. “What would you have me know this day?” Then, consider making an offering: putting down some tobacco or spilling a few drops of gapi (coffee) or to simply “think” a thank you.

Let us remember that we came into this body by Sekmekwe, our Mother Earth, and that our heartbeat and the heartbeat of our Mother is the same. By the de-waben (drum) that resonance can be immediately recalled and remembered. Let us take up a drum or spoon a heartbeat on a cup of cacao or tea and raise a voice in greeting, song or prayer.

These things, done at any time … day or night … are good medicine. The Seven Grandfathers’ Teachings have shone a WAY by which we might live.

Winter Maker Arrives artwork by Minisa Crumbo Halsey. Squares around two people standing next to a tree and a stream depict traditional Nishnabe star knowledge.
Winter Maker Arrives, by Potawatomi artist Minisa Crumbo Halsey. The painting highlights traditional Anishnabe star knowledge. (Photo provided)


May the following words, days and seasons guide, instruct, enliven and delight our Mother Earth walk for indeed, this is who we are and what we have … until our time comes, and our name is called to take up that long canoe journey to the western path of Spirit.


Mdodosenik: the Seven Sisters-Pleiades Constellation

Many of our elders tell the story that we Neshnabé arrived upon our beautiful Sekmekwe (Mother Earth) by descent from the Mdodosenik, the Seven Sisters-Pleiades Constellation.

There are many, many origin stories that then begin with our descent as hot rocks onto our relatives: our Mother Sekmekwe, our Father Gizes who gave us fire, warmth and protection and Dbek-Gizes, our Grandmother Moon. These, the first, most beautiful and enduring gifts of Mamogosnan, the Creator.

The vision of Mamogosnan provided us with our future home and then “we came down” from Mdodosenik, also called “fiery sweat rocks.” This is how and why we honor the Spirit of this story as we two-legged began and continue to live and move within the marriage of Sekmekwe and Gizes.

The sweat rocks constellation, the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades rise in the southeast after dusk and travel west during the night. During their peak in Boboon Gizes (winter) they climb high in the sky and disappear in the northwest before dawn. In the wiki Boboon-Gizes (late winter) and mamey Mnokmet (early spring), they will be visible for a few hours as they travel east to west across the southern sky. By these tracks in the sky the seasons have long been charted for planting, gathering, and harvesting the wild rice, hunting, fishing, winter storytelling and making sugar.

The stars are our relatives, and they have much to guide and teach us as we LOOK TO THE STARS.

Minisa wishes to thank Justin Neely, CPN Language Department and staff for all ongoing and outreach programs; Dolores and Don Neaseno Perrot; and Kyle Malott, Pokogan Band Language Department for his Bode’wadmi Nengo^sek Star Chart and gracious support.