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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 Ojibwe Nokomis means Grandmother.

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,"[1] 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[edit]

United States


Nokomis is also a character in Richard Adams' fantasy novel Maia. She has a son called Anda Nokomis.

Nokomis Pottery Red Wing Minnesota[edit]

Red Wing Potteries Inc. produced Nokomis glazed pottery from 1929 to 1934.[4]