Knowledge On The Road of Life/Doodem of Learning

Ojibwe Bizindamowin/Gikendamaawin Doodem gold and stone collar necklace

Title: Bizindamowin/Gikendamaawin Doodem (Acquired Knowledge On The Road Of Life/Totem of Learning)
Artist: Zhaawano Giizhik
Type: Choker necklace and matching post-back earrings
Materials: 14K white gold, 18K yellow gold, sterling silver, and turquoise; the post-back earrings consist of 14 K white gold and red coral 
Price: jewelry set constructed of 14K white gold wires and white gold earrings with sterling silver backings: 2,935.00 USD* / 3,930.00 CAD* / 3.190,00 EUR**  
Price: jewelry set constructed of sterling silver wires and earrings: 2,500.00 USD* /3,345.00 CAD*/2.700 EUR**
Item number

  • JEWELRY 1-7 WGW (White gold wires and post-back earrings with sterling silver backings)
  • JEWELRY 1-7 SSW (Sterling silver wires and post-back earrings)


> SCROLL DOWN to the bottom of the page to view a slide show demonstrating details of the necklace and earrings.

We learn as we walk the Path of Life

The above collar necklace, designed and hancrafted by Zhaawano in his wedding rings studio in the Netherlands, was born of a theme that is based on the age-old Teachings of the Midewiwin Society of his ancestors, the Ojibwe Anishinaabeg from the North American Great Lakes area.

Divided over five elegantly curved white gold wires, the goldsmith fastened four moveable ornaments of precious metals and stones – to be placed in any desired position along the wires.

These five wires symbolize the five main GIDOODEMINAANIG (our blood relations; animal totems) of the Anishinaabe Peoples: Ajiijaak (Crane), Makwa (bear), Waabizheshi (Marten), Maanameg (Catfish), and Mikinaak (Snapping Turtle). These (archaic) totems denote the five needs of the People and the five elementary functions of society: respectively LEADERSHIP, DEFENSE, SUSTENANCE, MEDICINE, LEARNING, and MEDICINE.

The four moveable elements of the necklace, a gold eagle feather, a stylized fish head and tail of white gold and silver and a turquoise stone set in gold, pertain to the central concept of the design: the stages of life that we humans must pass through from birth to death. The elements also

relate to the various phases of LEARNING: the human cognitive process and the transfer of knowledge and know-how. In honor of the concept of learning and knowledge, Zhaawano adorned the fish head ornament of the necklace with an eye of turquoise; the two post-back earrings – which he placed on the wires of the necklace when he took the photo – are watching the world through eyes of red coral.

The concept of MINO BIMAADIZIWIN Zhaawano depicted by means of the asymmetrically cut turquoise stone, accentuated by a setting of 14K yellow and red gold and sterling silver. The rough surface and the black-veined matrix of the turquoise, along with the sharp and irregular corners of the setting symbolize the many dangers, disasters, and perils along life’s path.

Finally, the stylized 14K gold eagle feather fastened at one side of the collar necklace, refers to ojichaag bimisewin or ‘Spirit Flight: the spiritual journeys the human mind is capable of - a special and often elusive dimension in our existence. A state of wisdom and knowledge can only be reached by inner spiritual growth and enhancement of consciousness. According to the lessons of aayaanikaaj mishoomisag, the Anishinaabe forefathers, no man begins to be until he has received his vision…

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2014.11.26 Written by Sylvia Goodman
Beautiful jewelry, elegantly crafted and carrying symbolism that demonstrates deep spiritual depth. Chi-miigwech!