Onaman Collective – Anishinaabemowin Wiigwaam (Language House)

From March 20 – 23, 2015 the Onaman Collective hosted Anishinaabemowin Wiigwam: 7 youth, 4 days, 1 house, no English. We plan on doing more immersion houses, and invite you to join the Anishinaabemowin Wiigwaam Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AnishinaabemowinWiigwaam/

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“For thousands of years the Anishinabek have been using a Red Ochre paint called Onaman. It is made from red ochre, animal or fish fat, and other ingredients such as urine and duck or seagull eggs. These are cooked together on a low heat. The longer you cook the paint the redder it becomes. In the language the word “Onaman” refers to the action of thickening something. There are many types of Onaman, most of them use types of Fungi, and each of them thickening agents, particularly in the clotting of blood in wounds.” – Isaac Murdoch

Pronounced ah-nah-min, The Onaman Collective was formed in September of 2014 by Isaac Murdoch, Christi Belcourt and Erin Konsmo because we care so deeply about the youth and the future of our communities. Each of us in our own way had been using our art for social change. We formed the collective for the express purpose of converging land-based art activities with traditional knowledge, youth, Elders and language.

We chose our name because we like the parallels between Onaman as a binding or clotting agent used in traditional medicine for wounds as well as within traditional paint and how the three of us will combine our skills for art & land-based community learning, collaborations and community based gatherings that center on art as a way to transfer knowledge of traditional teachings and language. The logo features a canoe symbol as found on rock paintings. The lines represent the three members of the collective in the canoe.

Since we formed so far we have organized, or been involved in these events:

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And most recently a mural project at the St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Brampton involving over 100 students painting a mural based on the sacred Fisher story. For more details visit the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/634831156648835/

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