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Attempt to impose fringe POV on article[edit]

Marburg72 added something that includes "A prominent feature of the pictorial art of the Algonquians around Lake Superior and Michigan is the use of an hourglass shape to portray the human form. There are many examples of it on birch bark records and in drawings made by Indian Informants. They seem to be derived ultimately from the upper paleolithic figures."

Note the shape 'hourglass' is key to this. Now I have the entire article which includes a number of rebuttals (probably the reason Greeman's arguments in 1963 rarely ever surfaced again accept in fringe media). The hourglass argument is specifically refuted, and I added that refutation. Twice he has removed my addition, saying "take the argument against the to the hourglass page. Your argument against Greenman is irreleveant to this topic and so is hourglass.)" (I have no idea what he means by 'against the to'.). Maybe someone can explain why the hourglass shape is relevant when it is used to prove cultural connections with the European Upper Paleolithic, but when I point out that the same article says "A detailed analysis of the comparisons and the accompanying illustrations show Greenman to be even more incorrect. I shall only discuss some critical facts on rock-painting and engraving. The hourglass shape has nothing to do with palaeolithic art," an argument that the hourglass shape shows no such thing is irrelevant?--Doug Weller (talk) 19:22, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Doug; If you want to argue about the Hourglass, my point is that this would be better suited for the Hourglass page. Its position in history is a different topic than its position on Birchbark scrolls. I can provide a number of sources that support the Hourglass usage in Paleolithic times. Namely, Schuster and Carpenter in Materials for the study of the social symbolism of tribal art. This source describes the widespread continuity of the hourglass in tribal art. I can provide a specific page number if you insist. Otherwise, Your attack on Greenman is largely your own creation - of perpetuating the misinformation that there were no connections to Paleolithic cultures in america. This topic of Paleo and early american cultures was a controversial one and is still a topic of debate. But it again has nothing to do with Mide symbolism or the birch bark scrolls. Read Schuster for symbolism in widespread paleolithic usage and read Indications of a Paleo-Indian Co-Tradition for North America by John L. Cotter for evidence of early occupation. When I asked to remove your arguments against Greenman, this is not the place for that, as you indicated earlier. If you want to make a Greenman Page, that would be appropriate. If you want to argue about the date of an hourglass motif - then do so on the hourglass page. You did the same thing to me when you removed all my edits on the Walam olum page and some friend of yours told me to add it to the Midewiwin page, and now you ave reverting my edits over and over and adding irrelevant information or attempting to refute any contructive edits that I make. The stated suggestion from a reliable source states that the hourglass motif has origins in the upper paleolithic - a point that is discussed by Schuster and Carpenter in thier comprehensive study on the subject. Again, Schuster is not a "fringe" writer - and prooves this fact through numerous examples of tribal art. The thunderbird symbolism is surely connected to the hourglass shape - which is relevant to Mide birchbark scrolls. Several examples of the thunderbird and hourglass symbol can be seen from The Midewiwin of the Ojibwa., Kwa-yăk´-in dī´-sha in-dâ´-yan : I am going into the medicine lodge. Here is another good source for this topic: Marburg72 (talk) 21:08, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
See WP:FRINGE and WP:NPOV on the proper treatment of fringe or debated information. Offering a single source and simply saying that he is not a fringe writer is not sufficient, and smacks of WP:OR. --Ronz (talk) 21:21, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
And the simple fact is that in the same Current Archaeology issue you have Greenman arguing that the hourglass is derived from the European Upper Paleolithic and (besides all the other criticisms of him), Juan Schobinger writing " The hourglass shape has nothing to do with palaeolithic art". I don't see how you can include one comment without the other and claim to be balanced. I also do not think this is an appropriate article for a debate about a European Upper Paleolithic connection with the Americas. It is highly contentious and just diverts from the main thrust of the article. (And looking at it logically, why wouldn't you find hourglass shapes in unrelated cultures?). Doug Weller (talk) 21:58, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
This is a direct quote from a scholarly journal that cannot be deemed to be "fringe" or NPOV or Original Research. Contentious? Wikipedia Policy is to assume good faith - which you are again failing to do. This quote has nothing to do with any connections with unrelated cultures. It is clearly stated in response to Schobinger: "Schobinger says the double curve motif is world-wide. I do not question that, but I know of no group of them that have the specific character of those of the Algonquian and the Upper Paleolithic of Spain. Schusters book "Social symbolism of tribal art" did show the same conclusion. Marburg72 (talk) 22:21, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
How is calling Greenman's article contentious (as it clearly was when you look at the discussion in the article) failing to show good faith? Good faith is about editors, not sources. What was NPOV was choosing one statement from the article and ignoring the statement that refuted it. NPOV and OR didn't come into the discussions. Anyway, thank you for agreeing to the move. Doug Weller (talk) 05:55, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Moved to Hourglass Page with supporting info. Please do not remove that info again - no, Greenman was not contentious. He included critics reviews of his report, and then stated his rebuttal. That takes a scientific mind and careful scholarly research. Marburg72 (talk) 06:05, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the move, but I have no idea why you think Greenman included critics reviews in his article. That is standard practice for Current Anthropology. Doug Weller (talk) 06:21, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
As Greenman Stated in his concluding paragraph: "It was no small task to read my paper and follow the references to the 288 figures, and then to write one's impressions for publication. To those that did, I express my thanks. The comments sort out into six outright rejections, seven that accept all or important parts of the thesis, five that have not been proven, which I do not regard a complete rejection, and the comment by the Voegelins which is contingent - either I am wrong or there will be a copernican revolution in linguistics. Their comments greatly increase the value of my paper." Did you even read the paper? If you did you would know that he included these reviews, and specifically responded to each one. Marburg72 (talk) 07:12, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I have his article and several other articles from Current Anthropology. If you were at all familiar with the journal you'd know that Greenman had no choice and the article would not have been printed without the comments. And he wasn't allowed to distribute any reprints without the comments (CA standard practice). Doug Weller (talk) 09:10, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)A quick note -- Cotter's is just a note or comment, not a full article, dated 1953. Schuster and Carpenter are not fringe, agreed. I know Cotter doesn't agree with Greenman's cross-Atlantic suggestion, I don't know about Schuster and Carpenter. I do know that their interpretations haven't received as much mention as I had expected -- Google books and Scholar throw up only a handful of mentions and one review. This may be because, as pointed out by Alfred Gell in his Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory, they are looking at "ostensibly decorative art" with an approach "predicated on the idea that apparently decorative forms have universal symbolic meaning."

Now discussion of the Hourglass is moved to Hourglass page - why is Clovispoint and Ronz re-adding it here? This move was agreed upon by suggestion and concensus.Marburg72 (talk) 13:49, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Good question, I've asked Clovispt. Doug Weller (talk) 14:06, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Recent Edits To "Name" Section[edit]

Despite the copious amount of referencing, recent additions to the "Name" section seem to me to be "pushing" a particular single interpretation of the Midewiwin belief system. I'm admittedly out of my depth in this particular subject area, but I would seriously like to see a review of this 'version' of Midewiwin by someone in the know. I debated whether or not to label it as needing "expert" attention, but decided to go this way for now. cheers Deconstructhis (talk) 17:27, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Took care of it. The core of the paragraph was kept, but all other discussion not directly related to the name was removed, with one sentence moved to a different section as it was not appropriate in the "Name" section. In addition, a bit was linguistics was added to explain the alternative name translation, as it was needed to explain the derivation of the alternative name translation. CJLippert (talk) 18:07, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Midewewin is NOT a "religion"[edit]

The Midewewin is NOT a "religion" This is a Eurocentric POV being imposed. The origin stories of the Midewewin vary, but a very detailed explanation can be found in Basil Johnston's Ojibway Ceremonies and Ojibway Heritage. The real purpose of the Midewewin was to practice medicines and help cure the Anishinabeg, no matter who they were. The "secretive" nature of the society has been created by post-contact "practitioners" who have turned the Midewewin into an exclusive club which now has it's own Grand Poobah in Eddie Benton Banai, who is self appointed at that. There are now websites and even t-shirts for such prestigious groups as the "Three Fires Midewewin" which goes far astray of the Anishinabe teachings of humility.

No true Midewewin would claim leadership as this notion of it being a "Grand Medicine Society" is also a post contact idea. It's origins are humble, yet complex, but it is not Nanabush who created it, although he did help the Anishinabeg to understand the ceremonies. In our stories, it was born out of a power struggle between Makadaeshigun (Black Bass) who was the patron of night, bad dreams and the underworld, and a human male who decided he wanted to prove whose medicines were more powerful and challenged Makadaeshigun to a contest with his family put up as the stakes. This conflict led to the deaths of members of both families and ultimately, after people were disgusted by this abuse of medicine and power, an agreement was struck that Makadaeshigun would teach the Anishinabeg to use medicines to heal with the condition that his name would be invoked during all ceremonies. He reminded them that it was one of their own who started this fight and that he could not return happiness to them as it was they who had given it up in contest.

The Jiisikiwinini section is also very vague and erroneous, but I will not discuss the Jiisakii or it's practices as we are forbidden to do so. Also missing is reference to the Windigokan who also were medicine people but again, are not to be discussed in this type of forum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:24, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

What you're seeing is a problem with Wikipedia... where it needs to source the statements. Unfortunately for Midewiwin, too many past documentations of it are either too specific only in one aspect, or quite erroneous in the writer's interpretations, or focuses on customs that are true in one community but not the customs of another community. You're correct that the exclusivity is a relatively recent thing... only in the last 150 years or so. Better referencing should improve. Major blocks are there; once something is written in there, then a more appropriate structure should arise. CJLippert (talk) 15:11, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Suggested Source: Old Religion among the Delawares: The Gamwing (Big House Rite)

Author(s): Jay Miller Source: Ethnohistory, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Winter, 1997), pp. 113-134 Published by: Duke University Press Stable URL: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:08, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Possible Solution and a Source[edit]

Perhaps a possible solution is to start a new (linked) wikipage for symbols used in the scrolls, on petroglyphs and in other documents of First Nation people's pictorial language and traditions. I was privileged to hear a lecture recently about this very topic by researcher Sherry Farrell Racette (who is First Nations) whose research was grounded in the writings of mid 1800s writer George Copway (also First Nations). It might be refreshing for a change for Wikipedia to have information from the 'real' experts... First Nations people.

Here is a link to Copway's account: [1]

I have also come across a source of information about the Mide'wiwin society itself that can help flesh out the Degree section of this article.

Here is the link: [2]

Written in the late 1800's by Walter James Hoffman for the Smithsonian, a caveat with this source is that it is written by a European and therefore may have misinterpretations and errors. B3lb3l (talk) 05:50, 22 March 2009 (UTC)


in the "Name" section, "Due to the body-part medial de' meaning "heart" in the Anishinaabe language, "Midewiwin" is sometimes translated as..." either needs better explanation rewording, or correction. In the Ojibwe language, "heart" is "odayin" (according to Benton-Banai himself pg.5 "The Mishomis book"), and in the Algonquin language it is "odeyen" (dialect is slightly different, yet very similar). Cree and Ojicree are also different, yet all are "Anishinabe" languages. It would be a fair statement that "dey", or "day" are the root of the word with respect to the "way of the heart" translation, however we need a label better than "the anishinaabe language" (and Anishinabe is always capitalized, just as "English, French, American and the like are). (talk) 19:14, 26 September 2013 (UTC)