On a hot summer day, a young Anishinabe boy visits the shores of Gitchee Gumee with his mother. Nanaboozhoo, their teacher, is before them, presenting himself as a mass of land that stretches across the horizon. As they visit, Keeshig tells his mother about what he calls "the Ojibwe pterodactyls" that live with Nanaboozhoo. He talks about their hunting and what they like to eat. At the end of the story, Keeshig surprises his mom by sharing that the Ojibwe pterodactyls are indeed the thunderbirds and that they are the heartbeat of Nanaboozhoo. Keeshig's mom is so happy and grateful to hear his story and gives him a big hug, letting him know that he is her heart.
Keeshig Spade (Keeshigbahnahnkut) is a six year-old Anishinabe from Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation. He currently resides with his family in Sudbury, ON where he attends Alexander Public School. Keeshig enjoys being a big brother to Kiniw and Wakinyan and he enjoys doing many things with them including playing outside, swimming and dancing men's traditional at powwows. Keehshig is a member of the sturgeon clan and has a gift for sharing stories and singing songs. Keeshig's favorite time of the year is when he gets to go back west in the summer to be with his kookums and great kookum.
Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade (Anang Onimiwin) is an Anishinabekwe from Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation. She is a mother, wife, researcher, learner, and artist. Celeste is an Assistant Professor in the School of Northern and Community Studies at Laurentian University where also teaches in the School of Indigenous Relations. She is also the inaugural Director of the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute.
Robert Spade (Keeshigooninii) is an Anishinabe artist-educator from Northern Ontario (Fort Hope First Nation). Rob is a father, husband, artist, sundancer, teacher (Sturgeon Clan), and has many years of experience delivering cultural and arts-based education, counseling and support, cultural sensitivity training, cultural-arts-based therapy and guidance to Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, youth, and adults. Rob has spent over half his life living and working out on the land in his traditional territory learning teachings and stories, ceremonies, traditional skills and art from his Elders. He is a gifted and accomplished storyteller, men's traditional dancer, drummer, singer, and visual artist.
One hot summer day after a powwow,Keeshig and his family go to the beachfor a swim. They are hot after dancingall day and need to cool off. While hisyounger brothers and dad are busygetting changed out of their regalia,Keeshig and his mom walk ahead tothe water's edge to feel the cool breezeoff the lake. As Keeshig and his mom stand on theshore of Gitchee Gumee (sometimescalled Lake Superior) they seeNanaboozhoo in the distance. Nanaboozhoo reveals himself as a bigpiece of land. He looks like a giant manlying on his back, taking a nap in thegreat big lake. People have differentnames for Nanaboozhoo dependingon who they are and where they comefrom. Some people call him Weaskejakor Glooscap, while others call him theSleeping Giant. "Mom, I can see Nanaboozhoo!"Keeshig is excited to see Nanaboozhoofor he is a great teacher that teachespeople many things about life.