Northern Wilds Magazine
Artwork by Sam Zimmerman. | SUBMITTED

Otawage-gookooko’oo (Great Horned Owl)

In Manoominike-giizis (August/Ricing Moon), I had just passed through Superior heading to Prairie Island when I saw a large bineshiinh (bird) on the side of the road. I passed it, pulled over and then backed up, and grabbed my aseema (tobacco) and gloves. I realized it was a large gookooko’oo (owl) that had been struck and bazhine (killed). I moved it into a growth of blooming ozhaashijibik (fireweed) (the same pinks in the painting) and collected one miigwan (feather) from the side of the road after putting down aseema (tobacco).

I messaged my niijikwe (female friend) to help identify it—it was an adult Otawage-gookooko’oo (Great Horned Owl). Gookooko’oog (owls) bimiwidoon (carry along) their own powerful mashkikiiwi (medicine). They are such powerful oshkaabewis (messengers) between realms. I wanted to honor this miikawaadendaagozi (beautiful), powerful manidoo (spirit) and my nimishoomis (grandfather) who shared his love of gookooko’oog (owls) with me. This is my first painting of my 45th year around the sun.

Follow my studio on Facebook and Instagram @CraneSuperior or if you have ideas for a North Shore painting, you can email me at:

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