Nenaboozhoo, the creator spirit-being of Ojibway legend, gave the people many gifts. This collection of oral stories presents legends of Nenaboozhoo along with other creation stories that tell of the adventures of numerous beloved animal spirits. The Trail of Nenaboozhoo is a book of art and storytelling that preserve the legends of the Anishinaabe people. Each story is accompanied by strikingly beautiful illustrations by revered Indigenous artists Isaac Murdoch and Christi Belcourt.
About the authors
Isaac Murdoch, whose Ojibway name is Manzinapkinegego'anaabe / Bombgiizhik is from the fish clan and is from Serpent River First Nation. Isaac is well respected as a storyteller and traditional knowledge holder. He has committed his life to the preservation of Anishinaabe cultural practices and has spent years learning directly from Elders.
Christi Belcourt is a Michif (Métis) visual artist with a deep respect for Mother Earth, the traditions and the knowledge of her people. In addition to her paintings she is also known as a community based artist, environmentalist and advocate for the lands, waters and Indigenous peoples. She is currently a lead organizer for the Onaman Collective which focuses on resurgence of language and land based practices. She is also the lead coordinator for Walking With Our Sisters, a community-driven project that honours murdered or missing Indigenous women. Her work Giniigaaniimenaaning (Looking Ahead) commemorates residential school survivors, their families and communities to mark the Prime Minister's historic Apology in 2008 and is installed at Centre Block on Parliament Hill commissioned by the Government of Canada. She was named the Aboriginal Arts Laureate by the Ontario Arts Council in 2015. In 2016 she won a Governor General's Innovation Award and was named the winner of the 2016 Premier's Awards in the Arts. Author of Medicines To Help Us (Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2007) and Beadwork (Ningwakwe Learning Press, 2010). Christi's work is found within the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Indian and Inuit Art Collection, Parliament Hill, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People's Hall.
Excerpt: Trail of Nenaboozhoo, The: and Other Creation Stories (text by Isaac Murdoch; by (artist) Christi Belcourt)
Nenaboozhoo really liked the Anishinaabek for the way that they conducted themselves. He liked the way they dressed, the way they lived, how their families were, and how they kept their lodges nice and clean. And he liked that there was no infighting amongst them. He really respected the Anishinaabek for how they were as a nation. At that time, the Anishinaabek didn't have fire. So Nenaboozhoo told them, "I think I know what you need. I'm going to go look for it. But if I don't come back, if I perish in my quest to bring you this, I want you to remember me and sing songs about me."
Nenaboozhoo gii bshigendamaan Anishinaaben gaa zhi zhichigewaad. Gii bshigendaan gaa zhi nookniiyewaad, gaa zhi maadziwaad, miinwaa dash wiinwaa da Dodemowaan, miinwaa aaniish gaa zhi gnawenmowaad Wiigwaaman, gnaajwang miinwaa biinchigaadek. Miinwaa gii bshigendaan gaawiin gii miigaandisiiwag. Gii maamiikwendmaan Anishinaaben gaa zhi maadiwaad. Wi pii, Anishinaabek gaawiin gii yaaziinaawaa shkode. Mii dash Nenaboozhoo gii wiindamoowaad, "nda nendam ngkendaan eminezyeg nga doowaabmdaan. Giishpin bi bskaabiiswaan, giishpin tpineyaan maanda zhichigeyaan wii biidoowaan maanda, nda ndoowendaan mkwendmiiyeg miinwaa wii ngamyeg Nenaboozhoo ngamwinan."
"This book is a true gift. The stories and artwork contained within are medicine straight from the land, medicine that is needed more than ever. These stories illuminate the origins of this place and offer an entryway to truly understanding this place and the people of this land. Reading this book is like stepping into the stories our elders told us. Brought to life with vivid storytelling and gorgeous artwork these stories are a pathway to better understanding the land, the Anishinaabe, and the very origins of this place. I will return to it again and again."
--Jesse Wente, broadcaster, curator, producer, activist, and public speaker.