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Ogimawkwe mitigwaki = Queen of the woods

Simon Pokagon

Publication Year: 2011

Simon Pokagon, the son of tribal patriarch Leopold Pokagon, was a talented writer, advocate for the Pokagon Potawatomi community, and tireless self-promoter.
     In 1899, shorty after his death, Pokagon's novel Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods)--- only the second ever published by an American Indian---appeared. It was intended to be a testimonial to the traditions, stability, and continuity of the Potawatomi in a rapidly changing world. Read today, Queen of the Woods is evidence of the author's desire to mark the cultural, political, and social landscapes with a memorial to the pas and a monument to a future that included the Pokagon Potawatomi as distinct and honored people.
     This new edition offers a reprint of the original 1899 novel with the author's introduction to the language and culture of his people. In addition, new accompanying materials add context through a cultural biography, literary historical analysis, and linguistic considerations of the unusual text.

Published by: Michigan State University Press


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p. v-v

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Foreword to the Current Edition

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pp. vii-xii

Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods), is an undeniably odd piece of work. It can be read as a mawkish, sentimental romantic tragedy—or as a subtle recounting of the key ideological underpinnings of American conquest and colonialism. One reader might view the book as an effort to preserve Native language and culture, while another might as easily ...

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The Architecture of Simon Pokagon: In Text and on Display

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pp. 1-30

Holding history in my hands, a portal to a shared past, time speaks to me through this book—its leaves, like worn and delicate sheets of birch bark. Its talking pages pass on traditions as I turn them, as I fold the covers in to keep safe the lived experiences of then and now. This small book, a treasure, a memorial to my ancestors, a monument to the resiliency of ...

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Turn of the Century Indian Intellectualism: Language and Literacy in Simon Pokagon's "Queen of the Woods"

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pp. 31-56

...“Boozhoo!” appears throughout Simon Pokagon’s 1899 text as mawkwe Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods). Depending on your linguistic interpretation, we might see this expression as an Indianized version of “bonjour”—and as a word that references a long history of cross-cultural America.1 Central to this trade relationship was the negotiation of cultural ...

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Reading Queen of the Woods Today

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pp. 57-76

...n’bishigendaan gdo’mazinaigan miinwaa da gikendaasoyin geyabi gete-dibaajimowinan noondaamaanan biinji-chi-wiigwaamaning enji-Anishinaabemoyaang noongwa.” Translating these words literally, I wish I could tell him: “Simon Pokagon, I like your book and you should know I still hear them, the old stories, in the birch lodges where we speak ...

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A Brief Sketch of Chief Simon Pokagon’s Life

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pp. 77-82

Chief Simon Pokagon1 was born in the old Pokagon Indian village located on Pokagon Creek about one mile from St. Joseph River, Berrien County, Mich., in 1830. He is a full-blooded Pottawattamie Indian, and the last chief of the Pokagon band. At fourteen years of age he could speak his mother tongue only; he was then sent to the Notre Dame school near ...

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The Algonquin Language

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pp. 83-92

In presenting “Queen of the Woods” to the public, I realize that many of its readers will inquire why so many Indian words are used. All such will please bear in mind that the manuscript was first written in the Algonquin language, the only language spoken by me until fourteen years of age, and that in translating it into English, many parts of it seem to lose ...

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Editorial Note

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pp. 93-96

As a token of sincere appreciation, I Pokagon hereby inscribe Queen of the Woods to all societies and individuals—benefactors of our race—who have so bravely stood for our rights, while poisoned arrows of bitter prejudice flew thick and fast about them, boldly declaring to all the world that the white man and the red man are ...

Queen of the Woods: Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki

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pp. 97-98

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Chapter 1

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pp. 99-104

On my return home from Twinsburg, O. [Ohio], where I had attended the white man’s school for several years, I had an innate desire to retire into the wild woods, far from the haunts of civilization, and there enjoy myself with bow and arrow, hook and line, as I had done before going to school. Judging from my returning love of the chase, and from various ...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 105-111

Near the summer’s close, while living there, a little maiden, ever now and then, appeared across the stream, with waist of red and skirt of brown, with raven tresses floating in the breeze, following up, but never down the stream. She was always singing, as she gaily tripped along, in mimicry of the music of the birds. Sometimes in her songs, in fancy I could ...

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Chapter 3

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pp. 113-119

On reaching the boat, launched by the river’s shore, Lonidaw handed her mother the ball of twine which she had brought. She quickly tied the cord to the bow of the boat, carefully got in, and while Lonidaw held the ball, she pushed out into the stream. I now first knew why the twine was brought. The maid and I now left alone, with none to hear except the deer, ...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 121-128

To our surprise it was late in the forenoon. Mother hastily prepared our simple woodland meal of “sheshep,” “kegon,” and “medawmin” (duck, fish, and corn), a right royal meal for kindred souls who had gone supperless all night. While eating, our guests informed us they expected “Aukewaze,” the old Ottawa trapper, down the “Sebe” during the day to ...

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Chapter 5

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pp. 129-137

Having slept none the previous night, as the sun went down, we all wrapped our blankets about us, and lay down to sleep. At midnight’s hour, the old man shook my arm, saying, “Kebawin?” (Are you asleep?) “Yes,” I replied, “until you shook me.” He sighed, and then said, “Young chief, I can not understand how one of all our race can sleep when he recalls ...

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Chapter 6

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pp. 139-146

At sunrise, as we were sitting on a rug, of swee grass and rushes made, Lonidaw sitting close beside me, with “Zowan” (the dog) in front, “ningaw” (her mother) opened wide the door to let the sunlight in. There, just outside, facing us, stood the sacred deer; but he was a mere skeleton of his former self. Motionless he seemed to stand, with head drooped low ...

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Chapter 7

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pp. 147-158

Just before reaching her mother’s wigwam, some one called out, “Loda, Loda!” She turned about, exclaiming, “Enaubin! Enaubin!” (Look! Look!) I did so, and saw approaching a tall, middle-aged man of the Ottawa tribe, dressed in native style, leading a large, gray wolf along the trail toward us. Loda, stepping backward, exclaimed, “Negebawn! (My ...

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Chapter 8

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pp. 159-165

...north in song, and wild flowers were blooming, and the trees were putting on their robes of green, I took the hand of my dear, young, loved Lonidaw, and she became my bride. No wedding cards were passed around, no gifts were made, no bells were rung, no feast was given, no priest declared us one. We only pledged our sincere faith before her mother and the King ...

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Chapter 9

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pp. 167-170

I do not wish to bleed my own heart, or sadden yours; suffice it to say, as darkness succeeds the meteor’s sudden glare, so his young life Dear little Hazeleye alone was left us then; that sweet rosebud, just opening into maidenhood, the very image of her mother, was our only hope, and as our hearts were bound up in hers, we consoled ourselves ...

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Chapter 10

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pp. 171-178

On her funeral day, no relatives in sable robes appeared, no hearse, But native hunters of the wild, who oft had shared the bounties of her home, they dug her grave at early morn; then came with fragrant They came with blankets of pure white about their shoulders thrown, and with moccasins of deer-hide upon their feet, while, with uncovered ...

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Chapter 11

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pp. 179-184

Being fully convinced that sorrow and desolation followed every-where in the footsteps of strong drink, I recalled the dying request of my dear, lost Lonidaw, and again sealed the sacred contract within my heart, that I would raise “migas” (the war-whoop) of alarm against that old dragon, not only in behalf of my own race, but in behalf of the white ...

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Chapter 12

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pp. 185-190

In the mighty onward march of research and improvement, Pokagon has no desire to tighten the reins, to curb physical or scientific development; but in driving the triple team that moves the great car of civilization, he would cautiously urge forward that one which lags behind, that all in concert might keep step side by side, until the goal is reached. The most ...

Appendix 1: Pokagon's Address at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

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pp. 191-205

Appendix 2: Pokagon's Address at the Cem Opera House at Liberty, Indiana, January 7, 1898

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pp. 207-210

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 211-215

E-ISBN-13: 9781609172176
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870139871

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011