Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Entertainment. Discussion »
MANISTEE, MICHIGAN There is something to be said about good old fashioned Indian humor. Sometimes the Indian humor comes in code words that other American Indians understand immediately.
Lena Strong, my great aunt showing her frybreadth, circa 1979
The following words with definitions were discovered in the booklet given out at the 19th Annual Anishinaabe Family & Language Camp last weekend in Manistee, Michigan hosted by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. These new "NDN" words are good for a few good laughs; they are not listed in alphabetical or by humorous order:
New "NDN" Words not in the dictionary, but should be:
Moccashoe(mock-ah-shoe) Contemporary dancer footwear designed by beading tennis shoes or aqua socks instead of making moccasins the traditional way.
Commodify(kah-mod-if-eye) Uncanny ability of Indian women to convert ingredients of any standard cookbook recipe to commodity ingredients, such as powered milk, powered eggs and canned meat.
Skinship(skin-ship) The eventual relative connection that all Indian people discover within ten minutes of meeting each other.
Rezercise(rez-er-size) The involuntary health regime of walking everywhere on the rez since your Indian care broke down for good.
Triballistic(tribal-iss-tik) To become irrational and incoherent upon hearing the latest decision made by the local tribal council that one disagrees with.
Frybreadth(fry-bredth) A unit of measurement based upon the standard size of your auntie's frybread.
Alter-Native(alter-nay-tiv) An individual born and raised in the non-Indian culture, but recently "discovered their great-great-great-grandmother was an Indian princess.
Wishnaabe(wish-na-bay) An individual who wishes they were Indian; they wear traditional "made in China" beadwork and is first in the arena at inter-tribal dances.
Editor's Note: Credit for these new NDN words go to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. Used with permission.
posted August 4, 2012 7:57 am edt
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