Gookomisinaan is the name given to Seven Generations Education Institute’s Grandmother Eagle Staff. In Anishinaabemowin, Gookomisinaan means “Our grandmother, the moon.” Our Eagle staff sits to the East of our grandfather drum with a walking-space in between.
Her dressings and base
Gookomisinaan’s dressings, or the materials that cover her, include 13 white circles and eagle feathers to represent the thirteen moons throughout the year. The top arch features three small eagle feathers symbolizing the past, present and future and a small mirror meant to deflect negativity and negative spirits.
At the base of Gookomisinaan sit various ceremonial items including a wooden spoon, copper cup, and wooden bowl. When not in use, or “resting,” the copper cup and spoon should be placed upside down.
Gookomisinaan in ceremony
During ceremony, the wooden spoon and copper cup are used to distribute foods like berries and water to those in attendance. The wooden bowl at Gookomisinaan’s base is used to collect tobacco provided in offering.
Gookomisinaan’s role is to support singers, students, staff and everyone participating in graduation, celebration, feasting and other ceremonies. She is often lifted during drum songs by a woman, typically an elder.
Gookomisinaan at SGEI
In our previous blog post, we introduced our Grandfather Drum, Saagajiwe. Saagajiwe and Gookomisinaan sit in SGEI’s Fort Frances campus circle room for ceremony, but to also act as a cultural support. Staff and students are welcome to sit with our drum, staff and other sacred items, visit and offer asemaa (tobacco).
Do you want to learn more about Anishinaabe practices or need guidance when visiting with our sacred items? Contact our Cultural Lead for assistance and cultural mentorship