Northern Wilds Magazine
Artwork by Sam Zimmerman. | SUBMITTED

Meskwananiisi: Red Tail Hawk

This past summer on my way home from Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag (Leech Lake), I saw a chi bineshiinh (large bird) that had been hit and aapijinazh (killed) by a car on the road. I got out of my car and grabbed my aseema (tobacco) so I could move it off the road. After I picked it up, I realized it was a meskwananiisi (red tail hawk). Before this moment, I had gaa wiikaa (never) seen one up close. I moved it off the road. I then maawanji (collected) a couple of its wanashkidiigwanag (tail feathers) for a niiji (friend) who had been looking for one for his regalia, and biindaakoozh (made an offering of tobacco) to honor its life.

I was so overwhelmed with holding this beautiful manidoo (spirit) that, after giiwebizo (I drove home), I sketched it out but then put it aside until I was ready to paint it. I recently found the sketch from last niibin (summer) and completed the piece to honor this beautiful bineshiinh (bird).

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