This following story relays some of the teachings that Francis Pegahmagabow held about the world and how human beings should conduct themselves. War, of course, was an entirely different circumstance. The key was to come back to your core beliefs and ways of being, in order to re-establish a sense of peace and harmony. Francis’s son Duncan shared this story about some of his father’s beliefs and philosophies.
Listen to a recording of the story in Anishinaabemowin.
This is what my father had said.
Mii-sh maa Nishnaabe go naa gewiin geget gwa naa enishnaabewendang da-kendaan iihow ndawenjiged.
The Nishnaabe person, in the cultural way that he was given to think about the world, was to know this about hunting.
Kaa go wiin iihow ezhi-n’gajtood ndawenjiged gegoo doonji-ntoosiin.
It is not because he is good at hunting that he is actually able to kill anything.
Gnimaa maa go naa ge-ni-nsaad niw waawaashkeshwan gaawiin gwa epiichi-ntaa-ndawenjged baashkzwaad niw ntaa-waakwii nendam.
If he kills a deer, it is not because he is a skillful hunter that he shot that deer or that he thinks himself to be a good shot.
Kaawiin, kaawiin sa.
No, not at all.
Gii-nendaagzi sa gwa ji-nsaad niw waawaashkeshwan ji-miin’gozid iihow ji-giiwewnaad ji-shamaad niw mii go naa gewiin enchid.
It was meant for him to kill that deer; he was blessed with it to take home and feed however many were in his family.
Miinwaa go naa ge-ni-shkosed maabam waawaashkesh daa-miigwewan ngoji go odi ni-miigwe iihow wiiyaas ji-wiisniwaad giw aanind Nishnaabeg.
And that which was left over of the deer he would give away—he would go around and give away that meat so that others may eat.
Kaa go wiin go eta go kina gegoo ge nenziin.
He was not to think that this was all for himself.
He gives this.
Mii iw nake ge-zhi-miin’goziiyin giin iihow giishpin miigweyin.
The way that something is given to you is how you are to give.
Giishpine gegoo miigwesiwan kaa gegoo gdaa-miin’gozisii.
If you do not give anything, then there is nothing you will receive.
Aabdeg ga-miigwe neyaab dash wenzhishing da-zhiwebad maa gbmaadziwining.
You are to give back whatever good may happen in your life.
Ga-miigwe maa naa maabam Gzhe-mnidoo gaa-miin’goyin miigwe.
You are to give back in the same way that the Kind Spirit has given things to you, for the Spirit gives freely.
Mii dash iihow wenji-nendaagwak iihow.
This is why this is expected.
Weweni ji-naadzid maa naa nake ow Nishnaabe ezhindawendaagzid ji-miigwed iihow gaa-miin’gozid gewiin ji-aanke-miigwed dash.
He was careful in the way that he lived, for the Nishnaabe was expected to give in the same way that he was blessed, in order to extend the act of giving itself.
Mii enendaagwak iw bmaadziwining.
That is what is expected in life.