Archive | April, 2009

Free Trees

24 Apr

The Ziibiwing Center has 75 white pine trees that need a loving home.

If you have space in your yard for a needy tree, please stop by the front desk here at the Ziibiwing Center anytime before 5 p.m. today.

Miigwetch! (Thank you)


Mother Earth Day

21 Apr

Tomorrow, April 22, is Mother Earth Day.  This day was formed over 40 years ago to put a spotlight on the world’s environmental issues, and the Ziibiwing Center wants to do just that.


Facts show us that we are using up the Earth’s natural resources at an unsustainable rate.  If the world population keeps using resources at the current rate, we would need two planets to sustain our lifestyle over the next 40 years alone!  (For more information visit


Mnookimi (spring) signals a time of new beginnings and renewal for the Anishinabek. Mother Earth Day reminds us to honor and protect the earth for the next seven generations.


This Mother Earth Day the Ziibiwing Center encourages you to think about the little ways that you can help sustain our resources and make a BIG difference.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.


  • Bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store.  This reduces plastic use…and they fit more groceries!
  • Bring a travel mug to the coffee shop instead of using a disposable cup.  Not only will this reduce waste, some places give discounts for using your own mug.
  • Find a recycling center near you.  Even if your home or apartment doesn’t offer recycling services, there is likely a place nearby you can take your paper, plastic, and metals to.
  • Reuse everyday glass, paper, and plastic containers that are usually thrown away.  A milk jug becomes a homemade planter, a coffee can becomes a piggy bank, and a crushed pop can becomes a Christmas tree ornament with scissors and a little paint. Be creative, the sky is the limit!
  • Plant a tree! The Ziibiwing Center is giving out 250 white pine trees for kids to plant around the community.  Check back Friday to see if we have any extras for you to take home, too.

If you have any more ideas on how we can do our part to save the Earth or questions on how the Ziibiwing Center helps to keep our Earth clean, please post them here!

Mother Earth Week

21 Apr


Ziibiwing is celebrating Mother Earth Week now through Friday, April 24, 2009. Mother Earth Week includes a combination of Earth Day and Wild Rice activities for K-6 students. Today we’ll talk about Wild Rice! This is a time to celebrate mother earth and the gifts she provides us. Wild rice is an important and sacred food source for the Anishinabek people.


Long ago, the Anishinabek people were given Seven Prophecies.  The first prophecy told the Anishinabek to leave their home on the Northeast Coast of North America and follow the direction of the setting sun.  They were to walk until they found a place where “food grows on the water.”


And so they left their homes by the Atlantic Ocean and began the long journey inland.  They walked and walked and their feet grew very tired, and they paddled and paddled their jiimans (canoes) until their arms were very weary. Finally they came to the Great Lakes.  In this area they saw a wondrous sight.


Manoomin (wild rice) was growing on the smaller inland lakes!


Their journey was finally over.  They built new homes and learned how to harvest and use the manoomin.


Harvest time is when Nibiing (Summer) fades into Digwaagi (Fall).  The Anishinabek people set up camps by the lakes and families worked together to collect the manoomin. A nini (man) and kwe (woman) would paddle a jiiman out to the rice beds.  The nini would then use a long pole to steer the jiiman through the thick reeds.  The kwe would use two long sticks to knock the rice into the jiiman.  They would repeat this step until their jiiman was full!


There was more work once they returned to shore to make the manoomin ready to eat.  First, they spread it out on big wiigwaas (birchbark) sheets so the sun could dry it. Then it was placed over a fire to loosen the husks around the grain of rice. The harvesters would stir the rice over the fire to “parch” it.   


Next, they had to remove the husks by dancing on the manoomin in a bootaagan (barrel) with slanting sides.  This gets the husks off without hurting the grains of rice.


The last, and hardest, step is called “winnowing.”  An older kwe would toss the manoomin in the air with wiigwaas trays.  While in the air the wind would come and blow the chaff off the rice, leaving the grains behind.




Culture Crawl

15 Apr

The Ziibiwing Center is proud to be a part of the third annual Culture Crawl, an event hosted by CMU Museum Studies program.


Participants are invited to take in the culture of Mount Pleasant by visiting different locations in the area that are rich in art and culture, such as CMU’s Museum of Cultural and Natural History, the Art Reach Gallery, the Clarke Historical Library and many more.


While visiting the Ziibiwing Center through this event, participants will get a brief tour of the facility, including a look at the meeting room spaces, the research center, and a quick peek at our permanent exhibit, Diba Jimooyung: “Telling Our Story”.  The first fifty participants to arrive at the Ziibiwing Center will also receive a free copy of our own book, E’aawiyaang (Who We Are).


To find out more on the Culture Crawl, visit