By Russell Littlecreek
Red Lake Writer 

More on Red Lake Clans


Adolescent elephants can often get into a lot of trouble when not supervised. They do things like harass and sometimes kill Rhinos in their “neighborhood”. But if you put them together with an old bull they tend to settle down. Our human condition is a bit more complicated, but I assume that if mom asked a number of male members from her dodem to find some creative ways to supervise junior that he would settle down too.

The nice thing about the dodem running through the female line is in dealing with cases of familial abuse. Hubby or boyfriend or vice versa might not be too inclined toward further abuse after being “educated” about self esteem or the nature of power by members of the dodem.

I think dodems are like fraternities or sororities. They have friendly competitions in doing good.

A dodem gives a person something positive with which to identify. if I have a strong sense of community with which to identify, I’m less likely to want to identify with something that is not a part of my culture. However, a dodem must consistently and frequently interact with an individual to have any effect. Perhaps the tribal council could start by recognizing dodems at powwows or other gatherings. I would be interested to know who else in the tribe belongs to my clan.

Since dodems are passed down through the woman, we should have women lead them. Wasn’t that the away it was done in the past?

About the Author

I’m Russell Littlecreek, a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. Full Disclosure: I’m old enough to eat lunch at Elderly Nutrition and get the Senior discount at Great Escape theaters, but not old enough to get social security.

For what it’s worth, I have a B.A. in American Indian Studies and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota. I was also ‘grandfathered’ in as a Social Worker for the State of Minnesota a long time ago. Among other things, I worked as a Psychiatric Assistant on Station 60 which was a general mental health inpatient unit at the University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics. I also provided mental health counseling for individuals, couples and familes of all ages and races at the U of MN Community University Health Care Center in South Minneapolis for 11 years.

I’m just as proud of my German and other ancestries. I’m Mormon. Right now, I live off the reservation in the woods with my wife Laurie and our dog Belle. Although there are many parts to me which are equally important; this Red Lake part is the one I choose to write about here.


Reader Comments(2)

RussL writes:

Thanks Muskrat, I appreciate the correction. I've changed the opinion piece on my blog site to reflect the change of information. Miigwetch!

Muskrat writes:

While I am still a relatively young man of 49 winters, I must correct the writer's assertion that our Anishinabe clan system is maternally-based. It is not. We are born into our father's clan. Miigwetch.


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