A Round House: Seeing a Setting

As I read Louise Erdrich’s novel The Round House, I didn’t have a clear image in my mind of the setting of the horrific crime. I knew that it was a sacred place with unclear jurisdiction, but I didn’t have a clear image. I stumbled around online a bit, and I found this image. I also read this article entitled “Ojibwe Youth Camp Helps Restore Once-Forbidden Language” which goes on to describe a camp for Anishinaabe young people.

Cynthia Boyd writes, “A native speaker, Stillday, who lives in Ponemah, will teach not only the language but traditional spiritual practices, including smudging, a cleansing ceremony that involves the burning of sage, sweet grass, cedar and tobacco.

“He will tell the Ojibwe creation story and demonstrate and involve the children in gratitude ceremonies performed at planting and harvest.

“He and other elders will form relationships with the young people as they teach them Ojibwe everyday phrases such as “What’s for supper?’’ and teach native names for plants.

“A hunting camp last fall was also designed to reconnect youth with their people’s tradition. Among other revered practices, youth learned the practice of making tobacco offerings of red willow to the creator for providing deer and to the deer for giving up its life.

“The camp turned shy young men and women campers into more self-confident youth, and with that self-assurance came better behavior in school and at home, Barrett says.”

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