With this elegant chain necklace, consisting of handmade links of eagle feathers and round, slightly curved bars of solid 14K yellow gold, I honor my link with the culture of my distant Anishinaabe ancestors of the North American Great Lakes area. The necklace features a gold 14K pendant holding a hand-cut, 10 x 30 mm oval-shaped turquoise (the inserted photo shows a sterling silver pendant). A 0.11 carat (3 mm) brilliant-cut white diamond set in 14K gold (sterling silver in the inserted photo) accents the graceful stone with the color of the sky. The necklace design depicts a celestial scene, inspired on the Anishinaabe creation story of Turtle Island (North America) as we know it.
"Ahaaw, n’ga aadizooke."
This is a ritual phrase in Anishinaabe storytelling, meaning “Now, I will tell a traditional story”.
This is the sacred story of GIIZHIGOOKWE, beloved creator and grandmother of mankind.
“The first mother of the Anishinaabeg was once an AADIZOKAAN, a supernatural being residing alone in the sky. Her name was GIIZHIGOOKWE, or Sky Woman. GICHI-MANIDOO, the Creator of Earth and Skies, pitying her loneliness, sent a male aadizookaan to Sky Woman to keep her company. ANIMIKII (Thunder), for that was his name, traveled to the sky lodge of GIIZHIGOOKWE and from the union that took place (rumor has it that Sky Woman showed her lover every hole and corner of the universe!) were born the ANISH-I-NAAB-EG (a twin brother and sister), whom she planned to place on the back of a giant MIKINAAK (snapping turtle)."
“But first GIIZHIG-OO-KWE had to convince MIKINAAK to lend his back to the re-creation of the world, because at that time the world was inundated with water below her and most animals had been drowned in the Great Flood that had hit the First World. As Sky Woman noticed that a few animals had survived the flood she called to her aid the giant turtle. He came to the surface so that she could sit on his back and call others to her side. Maang (the loon), Amik (the beaver), Nigig (the otter), and Wazhashk (the little muskrat) were among her helpers."
"That day, long ago, after she had descended from her sky lodge to the newly-created world in the shape of a turtle’s shell, dancing all the way down in a sacred manner, she spoke to the water animals as follows: 'I don't have all the powers of creation that GICHI-MANIDOO has. But I am a female spirit and I have a special gift. I have the power to recreate. I can recreate the world GICHI-MANIDOO created, but I can't do it by myself. I need your help. I need you to dive deep. I need you to bring me a handful of the original soil made by GICHI-MANIDOO. The soil will be the seed I use to recreate the Earth.''
"All day long the water animals took turns trying to reach the soil covered by the great depth of water but to no avail. At the end of the day it was only Wazhashk the little muskrat, not used to swimming in deep water, who had not given it a try. The brave little animal decided that with no one else available to help it was up to him to do the job. He took many deep breaths and dived down and down."
"As he finally came back to the surface Wazhashk had clutched in his paw the soil from the bottom of the sea. Gratefully GIIZHIGOOKWE took the soil, dried it and breathed life into it, then rubbed it on the turtle's back. She rubbed the soil round and round and as she did so an island took shape above the water. GIIZHIGOOKWE continued to move over the new soil. She walked in wider and wider circles; some say it took her 14 summers to complete the job. And so the Earth was recreated. Forever after the Anishinaabeg called the world MIKINAAKOOMINIS, or Turtle Island."
“Once the new island was complete, GIIZHIGOOKWE nurtured the twins to manhood and womanhood, and then, as her purpose and nature were finally fulfilled, she danced her sacred dance upward into the fading light of the sky. Here, after she had reached the moon, she changed her name in WEZAAWI-GIIZHIGOOKWE, Yellow Sky Woman, and she became known as NOOKOMIS DIBIK-GIIZIS, Grandmother Moon. From here on, Nookomis Moon watched over her children by night; by day MISHOOMIS GIIZIS (the Sunfather) and OMIZAKAMIGOOKWE (the Earthmother) took care of them. And Nookomis’ existence, her gift of life, and the primacy of women are still remembered by the Anishinaabeg each time Dibik-giizis, the Night Sun shines on their precious island-home."
Giiwenh.That's how far this story goes. Thank you for reading & listening.
The gold feathers and the elegantly curved bars of the necklace symbolize the sacred way in which Yellow Sky Woman dances around the sky, lowering herself onto the turtle’s shell, and her ascending back to the Sky World after she fulfilled her task on the newly-created Earth. The shape of the turquoise refers to the turtle; the dazzling blue color of the stone reflects the blue of the sky, home of Sky Woman, as well as that of the sea, home of the turtle. The sparkling white diamond set in 14K yellow gold represents GIIZHIGOOKWE’s rediscovered gift of life through birth and the primacy of womanhood of which she became an enlightened symbol, that can be seen high up in the sky each time the moon shines at night.
Migwechewendan akina gegoo ahaw! Be thankful for everything!
- Zhaawano Giizhik