Before begining this adventure of trying to share some information on my culture with everyone, I would like you to keep in mind that teachings from the Native American culture differ between Native American Indian tribes. While some tribes seem to follow mostly the same ideas, others have a totally different view. Anishnabe means Native American Indian in the Ojibwe language.
In our culture, oral tradition is very imporatant and it is taught to us through stories.
It was said that our clans were here before the humans inhabited the earth. The animals of all kinds were told by the Creator that humans would come and would not have anything and would be pitiful. The animals of all kinds said they would take care of the humans, show them how to live in harmony with all of Creation. We will sacrifice ourselves as food and supply them with our furs to keep them warm. We will teach them what medicines and ceremonies to use to heal themselves.
It is said that your clan is with you from the day you are born. It walks with you and looks after you. You must always offer tobacco when you ask you clan for help.
Within the Clan stucture of the Six Nations (Potowatomi), the clan is passed down through the women. Among others the children of the family are of their father's clan.
The clans of a Tribe are often the animals and other creaturestht inhabit the area. The wolf, bear, turtle, and deer are common clans of the great lakes area. Some of the clans of the sic nations are the turtle, bear, wolf, rock, snipe, pipe of peace and the heron. Within the clans, there are different types of that animal such as snapping turtles and painted turtles in the turtle clan.
Each clan has its own duties and responsibilities. You should consult the elder clan members for the exact teachings of your clans.
In the great lakes area the crane clan for example is involved in leadership and the sharing of knowledge. It is said that cranes have a loud voice that can be heard for miles.
The eagle clan represents the family unit; both parents protect and bring food to the eaglets. The eagle also teaches respect, hunting, being a warrior, and being in balance with nature.
The bear clan are like the gaurdians of the communities, protectors and carries of medicine too.
Learning Your Clan
To inquire about your clan if you are not aware of which clan you belong to, you can offer tobacco and make the request to know what your clan is to a spiritual person who has the ability to find out what clan is watching over you.
Honoring Your Clan
To honor your clan is to be a brother, sister, aunt, uncle to all the people who are of your clan. If the person you meet in your clan is younger than you, they are considered your niece or nephew. If they are of the same age, they are considered to be your brother or sister. It is your responsibility to take care of the relatives of the clan. If someone from the clan visits your area, you are to take care of them.
Depending on your clan, you may feast your clan monthly, once or twice a year, or four times a year at the change of the seasons. Many people leave an offering of food and tobacco on the ground or water. Clan ceremonies are also held by different clans.
Some bear clan people feed their clan when the bear is going into hibernation and in the spring when the cubs are born. The may leave berries, fish and other meats that bears like to eat. Generally, a food offering will consist of any foods your clan would eat.
In the past, clans were painted on warrier shields encircled with medicine bundles. Today, items representing that animal are hung in a respectful manner.