For Maanii

By | September 1, 2012

“Our dear mother, Maanii is terminally ill,” stated the e-mail from her eldest daughter. “It is a matter of hours…” As quickly as we could pack, Lety and I were on the road for the nine hour drive to Canada.

For over twenty years, Maani Assinewe has been our inspiration and guiding elder. Whether it’s traditional lifeway, language, or ceremony, she serves our circle with a sense of presence and passion that belies her years. Lety and I recalled some of our most cherished memories with her. Just a month ago she visited us and said it would probably be her last time. She told us then that she was having dreams saying she was going to leave this realm in the coming white season.

At the same time, we received signs on the drive that lifted our hearts: at a toll booth the attendant waved us through, saying the person up ahead paid for us. Happening to pull up beside her at a stop, we asked her why. “A random act of kindness,” was her reply. The same thing occurred at a pay parking lot, and this time it was the attendant. Later, at the hospital where Maani was taken, the receptionist offered us blankets so we could sleep in our car while waiting to see her.

When we stepped up to her bed, she came to life. As weak and delirious as she was, I’d have been grateful enough if she were only able to recognize us and know that we came to be with her. Lety has a special relationship with her, and they hugged a long time, sharing what was only meant for them.

After being with her for a few moments, her doctor came in and asked how she was doing. “I’m very happy to be here,” she replied. My eyes moistened, and hers closed to a deep sleep as Lety and I sang to her in her in her native language: Maani, we love you; Maani we thank you; Maani we respect, cherish, and bless you.

While we sang, memories of my time with Maani blended with those of another dear elder of mine: Keewaydinoquay. I recalled that I wasn’t present at her Passing Over thirteen years ago, which made me feel all the more blessed to be there with Maani.

After we left the hospital, an eagle flew over us. With eagle being Lety’s animal guide, I took her appearance as a good sign. That, along with Maani’s joy, the fact that she knows it’s her time, and the kindnesses that accompanied our journey to see her, gave me a sense of peace about her Passing Over. Yet even though it may be her time, I’m not convinced that this is her moment. Having raised 12 children, along with running a trap line and setting fish nets, she has come to be a resilient woman. “A matter of hours” has now become days, and her heart and liver are still going strong. I ask anyone who wishes to send supportive energy her way for whatever is intended. If you have a personal relationship with Maani and would like to be kept abreast of her journey, please post a comment and I’ll keep you informed privately.


Joshua Berman on September 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm.


Sharing my prayers and thoughts with Maanii. Though I have not met her physically, she’s been with me and guided me in dreams. I understand she is a dear woman to many. Please keep me informed.

In peace,


Matt on September 2, 2012 at 10:26 am.

Tamarack…..Thanks for the update on our elders life. Please keep me informed of her journey.


Guy Wells on September 2, 2012 at 6:14 am.

While I have met not met her personally I have. I know her spirit well. Will do all I can in support as I like the fire this evening.

Blessings My Friend
Nasgi’nega Tawodi


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