top of page

The Ancestors, Teaching

The To Honour and Respect project includes activities intended to strengthen cultural practice through the visit of the Ancestors. Quillwork skills, Michi Saagiig dialect Nishnabemowin learning, and educational resources are central to project activities. 


Quillwork lessons

As part of the project, quillwork artist and instructor Sandra Moore (Hiawatha) and team are leading over 20 in-depth workshops in which some 400+ people are able to learn basic quillwork skills. Participants are makingsmall projects based on the makakoons' designs to take away.


Michi Saagiig Nishnabemowin

Project team members have incorporated the local Michi Saagiig dialect of Nishnabemowin into the exhibition catalogue and text. Jonathan Taylor, who helped with this process, emphasizes how language retention is related to the knowledge of cultural practices:

When you don’t use something, like doing that type of work, that artwork, and you don’t use those words that go along with it, you’re going to lose it. It’s really important that we keep both. Without our culture, we don’t have our language and without language, we don’t have culture.

--Jonathan Taylor, Nishnaabemowin instructor, Curve Lake First Nation

Gaag – Porcupine, Gog

Kaaway – Porcupine quill, Kah-whi

Kaawayag - Porcupine quills, Kah-why-ug

Kaawyike / Gowyike - S/he works with quills, Kow-yi-ka


Kaawyikewin - Quillwork, Kow-yi-ka-win

Wiigwaas - Birchbark, Wee-gwahs

Mgoos - Awl, M-goose

Zhaabnigaans - Needle, Zhob-ni-gaunce

Sabaap - Thread, Suh-bop

Kaawayag disged - Dyeing quills, Kah-why-ug dis-gad


Makak - Box, Muh-kuk

Wiigwaasi makak - Birchbark basket, Wee-gwah-si muh-kuk Iw


kekinawaabanjigan gii-dibendaagozi nnookmis -
This pattern belonged to my grandma,
Iw ke-kin-uh-wah-bun-ji-gun gey di-ban-dog-zi n-noke-mis


Kaawaykaajagan makak - Porcupine quill box – Kah-why-kah-juh-gun muh-kuk

Vocabulary by Jonathan Taylor

bottom of page