Nokomis is the name of Nanabozho's grandmother in the Ojibwe traditional stories and was the name of Hiawatha's grandmother in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, The Song of Hiawatha, which is a re-telling of the Nanabozho stories. Nokomis is an important character in the poem, mentioned in the familiar lines.
- By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
- By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
- Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
- Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
- Dark behind it rose the forest.
According to the poem, From the full moon fell Nokomis/Fell the beautiful Nokomis. She bears a daughter, Wenonah. Despite Nokomis' warnings, Wenonah allows herself to be seduced by the West-Wind, Mudjekeewis, Till she bore a son in sorrow/Bore a son of love and sorrow/Thus was born my Hiawatha.
Abandoned by the heartless Mudjekeewis, Wenonah dies in childbirth, leaving Hiawatha to be raised by Nokomis. The wrinkled old Nokomis/Nursed the little Hiawatha and educates him.
In the Ojibwe language, nookomis means "my grandmother," thus portraying Nokomis of the poem and the aadizookaan (Ojibwe traditional stories) from a more personal point of view, akin to the traditional Ojibwa narrative styles.
Places named after Nokomis
- United States
- Camp Nokomis, all girls sleepaway camp ran by the Merrimack Valley YMCA. Camp Lawrence is the boys camp that is on the same island and ran by the same YMCA.
- Nokomis, Alabama, a community in Escambia County, Alabama which was a railroad stop
- Nokomis, Florida, a census-designated place
- Nokomis, Illinois, a city
- Nokomis, Minneapolis, Minnesota, a neighborhood
- Lake Nokomis, part of a chain of lakes connected by Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Nokomis Regional High School, in Newport, Maine
- The Nokomis Native American Cultural Learning Center in Okemos, Michigan
- Nokomis Elementary School, in Ukiah, Ca
Nokomis is also a character in Richard Adams' fantasy novel Maia. She has a son called Anda Nokomis.
Nokomis Pottery Red Wing Minnesota
Red Wing Potteries Inc. produced Nokomis glazed pottery from 1929 to 1934.