A time for Dibaajimowin (storytelling)
When living in a wiigiwaam or tipi the mother’s place was usually to the immediate left or right of the entrance, with the daughters next her. The father would usually be on the opposite side of the door from the mother. The elders of the family (grandpa/grandma) would be positioned at the rear of the lodge where it would be most warm. The sons would be located near the father.
The bedding consisted of blankets and hides tanned with the hair on them. Some people might have pillows and thin feather beds made of hide or cloth and filled with feathers if they were able to make them. If not, cedar boughs were spread on the ground and covered with rush mats, the bedding being placed on these mats at night. During the day bedding was rolled up and used as seats or placed along the walls of the lodge.
During the summer little time was spent inside of the wiigiwaam/tipi. But during the winter, evenings were a time for socialization. With the fire burning brightly, food would be cooked and talking would be intensely animated. A favorite pastime was the making of artistic pieces of birch-bark, or the making of fishing nets that could be used in the springtime. The young men often spent their time reclined with a drum conveniently near them for spontaneous songs when the mood hit them.
The winter was also the time for story-telling (dibaajimowin) and the time for stories about Nanabozho. Elder women were often the best storytellers, acting out the stories and walking around the fire while telling them.
Adapted from Densmore, Frances. 1929. “Chippewa Customs.” Bulletin. Washington: U.S. Govt. print. off.
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