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What Does Namebini Mean?It's a question we've been asked often.  Namebini is a portion of the Ojibwe word for the river at our home, the Sucker River.  The full Ojibwe name is Namebini-ziibi.  This directly translates to "Sucker River".  Namebini is pronounced NAM-uh-BIN-ee, similarly to the Namekagon (NAM-uh-KAH-gun) River, near Hayward Wisconsin.

The sucker holds an important place in Ojibwe culture, and is the symbol for the month of February: Namebini-giizis, or Sucker-Fish Moon.  It is taught that the sucker gave up its life for the Ojibwe in the month of February.  The previous month, January, is the hardest time of year to get food because of the scarceness of game.  In February it is easier to net these fish and it is believed that the sucker is giving its life for the people.   

Check out this Ojibwe calendar of seasons and moons, as well as a pronunciation guide, for additional information: http://www.wojb.org/calendar.htm

For more on suckers and links to other native Minnesota fish visit: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snapshots/fish/whitesucker.html

 

 

 

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All text, materials and images copyright Carl & Cindy Haensel 2012