Night Flying Woman

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Gina Plumer
Night Flying Woman Assignment
American Indian Social Welfare Perspective

The book that I decided to read was Night Flying Woman by Ignatia Broker. The tribal identity in the book was Oibwe from the White Earth Band. Ms. Broker started out the book from the present day in Minneapolis where she grew up. There wasn’t much culture to be seen, and the younger generations were getting too lost in the new world. Ms. Broker made sure to mention that she still taught her children the Ojibwe ways, and told them the stories that her grandmother had once told her. Throughout Ignatia Broker’s introductory chapter, we got a sense of the amount of respect she had for you great-great grandmother Oona, or Night Flying Woman. When Ms. Broker first moved to Minneapolis, she lived in a diverse neighborhood, heavily populated with Latinos. She described being a Native American woman growing up in the urban Minneapolis area. From the time she had first moved there until the present time she was writing about, there had been an increase in the Native population. With the increase in population, she explained how where she lived suddenly was surrounded by factories and freeways. Many of the Ojibwe people in Minneapolis identified themselves as Native American from a certain reservation, not like a clan as they did in her great-great-grandmother’s childhood. Her opening introduction was explaining the differences of the land and customs of the past to the present way. The book then began to tell the personal story of Ignatia Broker’s great-great-grandmother Ni-bo-wi-se-gwe, or Night Flying Woman. Ni-bo-wi-se-gwe was an only child to Me-ow-ga-bo (Outstanding), and Wa-wi-e-cu-mig-go-gwe (Round Earth). Three weeks after birth, in Indian tradition, came the time when naming must be planned. Oona’s parents consulted with Grandfather and Grandmother and decided that A-wa-sa-si would be the namer. A-wa-sa-si chose the name Ni-bo-wi-se-gwe (Night Flying Woman) because Oona was born during the darkness of the day. The tribal identity was Ojibwe, and the village that they lived in was very close-knit. Everyone that lived in the village was good at something and they helped each other out when they needed it. For instance, some were good at ricing, some at hunting, at picking berries, some at sugaring, and some at making necessities. It was the environment we could only hope for in this day and age. The elders were respected above everyone else, and they were to always speak first. The children were to start learning the traditions from birth so that they would be efficient at an early age.

The family structure was very open, and I could easily detect who was in the leadership roles. At birth, Oona’s caregivers were her parents, but she also looked to her grandparents for guidance. When she was given her Indian name, she looked up to her name giver as well. The responsibility of Oona as a child was to learn the traditions and the Ojibwe way of life. She was to help with the ricing, hunting, berries, sugaring, and berries for one day she was going to have to do it all on her own. She was taught that when she entered her grandmother and grandfather’s home, she was not to say a word until she was spoken to. If nothing was said by them, nothing would be said in return by Oona. The roles and responsibilities that everyone in the village was given depended on the strengths that they had as an individual.
In the new land, Oona’s people weren’t able to hunt, fish, pick berries, or do any of their customary things freely. They were to build real houses, and wear real clothing like the “strangers”. Soon afterward, the strangers demanded that the children attend school, which soon turned into boarding school because of the distance it was away from their homes. At the boarding schools, the Native children were forced to speak English and forget their traditional ways. They were beaten if they disobeyed their...
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