LETTER: Learn and respect traditional Ojibwa valuesPlease take the time to look at what nature has provided for us and together we can maintain and protect what is valuable to all of us.
To The Telegram:
This is in response to the April 16 article “Court rulings 25 years ago revived Chippewa spear fishing.”
I am writing as an elder and member of a Chippewa/Ojibwa tribe in Northwestern Wisconsin. My traditional upbringing with my grandfather and other tribal elders taught me many things in life. The most important is survival. In order for our lives to continue for generations, we needed to respect nature in all aspects. At this time of the year, when the ice goes off the lakes and rivers, fishing, specifically with tools such as spears made of alder and diamond willow, we catch what we need — and only what we needed. Fish would be eaten that day, or possibly some would be wind dried or smoked for future meals.
The process we use was designed to not damage the fish. The end of the spear was split from the end roughly 10 inches up and then tied with rawhide at the top of the split, thus causing a spring-like reaction of the opening. This section was then pushed on the back of the fish, on either side of the body of the fish. We would then pull the pole out of the water.
Traditional values were a part of an instinctive survival skill, passed on from generation to generation. These skills were in place in our daily lives long before the signing of the treaties mentioned in the article. I would like to invite the reading public to explore the traditional values and ethics of Ojibwa Nations. As our climate, economics and environment in our world (both globally and locally) changes, the ways of surviving have changed. We need to see our world with different eyes. Please take the time to look at what nature has provided for us and together we can maintain and protect what is valuable to all of us. The patience and balance will follow with a level of respect in protecting our environment.
— Zahw-sko-giina-geejic DePerry,