The Wiigiwaam (Ojibwe Bush Home)

The Seasonal Pedagogy that comes from the Memory Teaching Bundle connects with the Four Seasonal Ceremonies of the Summer Solstice (Birth), Fall Equinox (Movement), Winter Solstice (Relationships), and Spring Equinox (Passing). Key to establishing and maintaining a land-based context for those Four Seasonal Ceremonies is having a place to have Sacred Fire and a Feast all year round. To my surprise the Memory Teaching Bundle provided a 13 pole design for a Traditional Ojibwe Wiigiwaam (Bush Home).

The 13 poles of this design correlate with the 13 Grandmother Moon Teachings that define the Anishinaabe Seasonal Calendar throughout the Four Seasons. Based on my Auntie Jacque’s Teachings there are 3 Moons per Season with the 13th Moon coming when Anishinaabe people need it most or ‘once in a Blue Moon’.

The Wiigiwaam always opens to the East with two Yellow Poles maintaining that Eastern Doorway. There are corresponding poles for the Western Doorway, the South, and the North. In addition to those 8 poles that maintain the Four Directions, there a four intermediate poles that uphold the Seasonal Pedagogy and connect to the Four Seasonal Ceremonies of the Solstices and Equinoxes. The 13th pole either upholds the central ‘star’ where all the Teachings of the Four Directions meet or it can control the door flap as pictured above.

Wiigiwaam at Boogie Mountain in Espanola, Ontario, Canada

The multidimensional ‘Circle’ of the Wiigiwaam is tied equally in the colours of the Four Directions (Yellow, Red, Black, and White) to connect with the teaching of equality and balance between the Four Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) and the Four Races of Human Beings (Asian Peoples, Indigenous Peoples, Black Peoples, and White Peoples) that were originally given equal Teachings and equal lands.

When children grow up living close to Doodoom Aki (Mother Earth) with the knowledge that every colour of people has an equal place and voice, we will have begun that process of decolonizing education. Equally important, the Wiigiwaam provides a natural context for all nations of Peoples to gather together around the Sacred Fire in Ceremony to establish and maintain respectful relationships as was promised at the beginning of time and is the core of Truth and Reconciliation.

Feasting the Wiigiwaam at Boogie Mountain in Espanola, Ontario

As of April 2022, there are 7 of these Wiigiwaamag (Bush Homes) across Turtle Island/North America being sustained by a growing community of educators and parents dedicated to establishing and maintaining these kind and caring spaces for children to learn and grow up close to Doodoom Aki (Mother Earth)!

Gichi Miigwech (A Big Thank You)!