OGIMAA (ACHA-KOOH-WAAY), JIM
ANISHINAABE KNOWLEDGEKEEPER, CHIEF OF FOOTHILLS OJIBWAY ON TURTLE ISLAND
I am Ogimaa (Acha-Kooh-waay), I begin with words from my own language to say hi to everybody. My identity… which is… because God put me in this part of the world is my Annishinaabe language and name. That means “leader” for people and environment here. So I am not saying I am the leader of Turtle Island but that’s what that means. It is an individual’s name, which is a spirit name that we carry on from our traditional culture and lineage in this part of the world. We were put here on this Turtle. This Turtle Island is massive.
Turtle island includes North America.
There are knowledgekeepers who preserve the knowledge of the first people, however, this knowledgekeeper holds the designation as leader. He is from a linage of runners, whose purpose is to preserve and teach ancient understandings without European influence. To hold, understand and accurately carry forward the sacred teachings, he was protected from colonial measures in his formative years. This meant being both hidden, as well as running from, colonial mandates. These laws imposed practices such as residential schooling, prohibition of ceremony and gathering. His education is only through the ways of the first people’s education structure… “Madawin" (the teaching lodges)… His education could only be achieved, after first contact, by shielding the child from other world views and education delivered in only traditional ways. He carries an ancient wisdom that applies to all aspects of creation and informs the world of a required synergy to move forward with healing our planet… including ourselves.