Bkejwanong means “where the waters part,” but the waters of St. Clair River are not a point of separation. The same waters that sustain life on and around Bkejwanong—formerly known as Walpole Island, Ontario—flow down into Chippewas of the Thames, the community to which author Monty McGahey II belongs. While there are no living fluent speakers of Anishinaabemowin in this community, McGahey has fostered relationships with fluent speakers from nearby Bkejwanong. Bkejwanong Dbaajmowinan is a collection of stories from these elders, who understand the vital importance of passing on the language to future generations in order to preserve the beloved language and legacy of the community. Like the waters of St. Clair River, the relationships between language speakers and learners have continued to nourish Anishinaabe communities in Bkejwanong and Chippewas of the Thames, particularly in language revitalization. With English translations, this resource is essential for Anishinaabemowin learners, teachers, linguists, and historians.
Monty McGahey II is of Anishinaabe and Oneida descent and was raised in Chippewas of the Thames, where he currently works in language revitalization. He is a second-language speaker of Anishinaabemowin and holds a master’s of professional education in Indigenous educational leadership from Western University in London, Ontario.
Monty McGahey’s Bkejwanong Dbaajmowinan/Stories of Where the Waters Divide is available at msupress.org and other fine booksellers. Monty and his wife have a podcast about the challenges of raising their kids in Anishinaabemowin called Enweying (Our Sound) which is available wherever you get your podcasts. You can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on Twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb.
The MSU Press podcast is a joint production of MSU Press and the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Thanks to the team at MSU Press for helping to produce this podcast. Our theme music is “Coffee” by Cambo.
Michigan State University occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Anishinaabeg – Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi people. The University resides on Land ceded in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw.