Mshkoziwin and Mkadengwe
Further, in the Anishinaabe tradition there is a teaching that encourages people to show the good side of their face. Mshkoziwin is an Anishinaabemowin concept that references “the Art of Being Brave” and the process of finding one’s true face, or alternatively the need to get to know our core selves. It is often said that at times our greatest enemy is our self. To help remedy this there is the need to get to know our core being. Anishinaabe wisdom informs us that our essence is made up of two parts. While one part is positive, the second part is negative. Given this, there is the need for individuals to travel deep within themselves and get to know both their positive and negative sides. This requires bravery as the negative side is indeed difficult to befriend. Regardless, if we fail to befriend our negative side it could very well take over who we are. Alternatively, although our true face is the positive side of who we are, we must befriend our negative side and manage it in a way that allows our true face to manifest in the way we walk through the world.
In the Anishinaabe tradition people also expressed times of bereavement through the practice of Mkadengwe which translates to Black Face. This tradition involved painting one’s face with black ash or paint to signify one’s state of being. In reading the person’s face members of the community were better able to affirm the mourner’s feelings and accommodate their needs when required.
In following this later tradition of Mkadengwe over the next few months I will offer Black Face blogging as my way of expressing matters that I feel require thought.