Structuring the Bidassigewak Native Way School Governance Model: Assembling Organizations in our Anishinaabe Ododemiwan




Jewell, Eva

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Wegimaawadizid is a word used by Mitaanjigamiing First Nation in Northern Ontario to describe their process of reinstating traditional methods of Anishinaabe governance. It was first introduced to me at my community’s “Nation Building Forum: An Engagement with Anishinaabe Governance” held on November 17, 2011. Larry Spence, regional manager from National Centre for First Nations Governance, visited our community to discuss the pursuit of Nationhood by the greater Anishinaabek Nation through successful restructuring of individual Anishinaabe communities and governance. I am not yet a fluent speaker, but I seek to understand concepts that are conducive to the work I engage with (among other conversational and spiritual topics in Anishinaabemowin). It proves to further advance concepts in both the Anishinaabe worldview and the one I currently have, which is in the process of being decolonized, liberated, and indigenized in my studies and life walk. So I had been searching for a term that means to make our decisions or to determine our own path, because then perhaps I could conceptualize the idea with an Anishinaabe worldview rather than using low-context1 1 Discussed further on p. 9 words like autonomy and self-determination—which simply hold no weight or regard for larger conceptions of reciprocity in Anishinaabe philosophy. Bimaadziwin, an oft-used word for life can be meant to refer to how we “walk” through our life journey, from one end of the lodge to the other. I have often thought of this concept as relevant to the fact that we can experience the journey in this world in its wholeness, but contingent upon the reminder that we walk in harmony with everything. But this term does not thoroughly encompass the concept of determining the order of political, social, and spiritual cohesion and relationship with the whole during that walk in the lodge. It felt good to be introduced to the term Wegimaawadizid, which means, Our way of Governance.



traditional, First Nation, governance, nationhood, communities, decolonize, liberated, indigenized, Anishinaabe, journey, political, social, spiritual, history, knowledge, Knowledge keepers, territory, Land base