Carol A. Hand
The si-si-gwa-d speaks on a drear rainy day
warning that the first winter storm is coming our way
Dark times ahead will test each spirit
I know many others can sense this, and fear it
The winds remind us we are all peoples of one earth
sharing one race, human, from birth
Though we view different skies
we can all learn to distinguish truth from lies
If we listen with open hearts and remember, we’ll realize
kindness, compassion, love and joy are all real
Reaching across differences will help us all heal
for ourselves, all life, and our blessed earth home
and stand together, each one centered in Nature,
not quite alone
Ignacia Broker (1983, p. 135) writes that “si-si-gwa-d” is “the sound trees make” (Broker, 1983, p. 135).
“The trees are the glory of Gitchi Manito [Great Spirit]. The tress, for as long as they shall stand, will give shelter and life to the Anisinabe [Person] and the Animal brothers. They are a gift. As long as the Ojibway are beneath, the trees will murmur with contentment. When the Ojibway and the Animal Brothers are gone, the forest will weep and this will be reflected in the sound of the si-si-gwa-d. My grandmother told me this is so, and her grandmother told her. When the forest weeps, the Anishinabe who listen will look back at the years. In each generation there will be a person who will hear the si-si-gwa-d, who will listen and remember and pass it on to children. Remembering our past and acting accordingly will ensure that we, the Ojibway, will always people the earth. The trees have patience and so they have stood and seen many generations of Ojibway. Yet there will be more, and yet will they see more.” (Broker, 1983, pp. 32-33)
It is foretold that there is hope for all of us if we learn to respect each other, live in peace, and collectively take care of the sacred earth we all share.
Ignacia Broker (1983). Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway narrative. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press.