aayoonseekaahkwi (Black Walnut)

aayoonseekaahkwi (Black Walnut)
Lauren Doust

What follows are recordings of student observations from kišiinkwia kiilhswa (July/August 2009) to cecaahkwa kiilhswa (April/May 2010).  Each student was asked to observe one feature (plant, tree, animal, celestial body, or weather phenomena) and its connections to other features.  In addition each student was asked to visually represent these connections by constructing a visual web.

niipinwi neehi teekwaaki (Summer and Fall)

The ecological feature that I have been studying this semester is aayoonseekaahkwi. Aayoonseekaahkwi is known for its leaves changing much faster than other trees. The specific one I looked at changed very quickly; however, it took quite a bit of time for the leaves to actually fall. It took almost two months for all the leaves to fall off. As the semester has continued on, tI have made more connections to the ecology of the world.

One of these connections is with the waawaawiipinkwaahkatwi. They do not affect each other, but my tree began changing much faster than this one and the leaves of mine had completely fallen before the waawaawiipinkwaahkatwi’s had gotten halfway done falling.

The aayoonseekaahkwi’s relative tree the kiinošiši, also had a connection to my tree. First off, they look very similar and it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference. When the fruit of the kiinošiši was falling, the fruit of aayoonseekaahkwi was dropping at the same rate, if not a little faster. The fruit of the aayoonseekaahkwi turned colors much faster than the kiinošiši.

The connection my tree had with the mihšiinkweemiši was also just a change that occurred at the same time. My tree’s leaves fell much faster than this tree’s. The leaves of the ahsenaamiši changed pretty close to the same time that my tree’s leaves were changing; however, it took much longer for the other tree to start falling.

The connection my tree had to teekwahkahki was that all the leaves were off of my tree by the time the first major teekwahkahki happened.

My tree was affected by ciinkwia. When there was a ciinkwia, it knocked off many of the leaves from my tree.

One additional connection I made was with the anikwa (Grey Squirrel). The anikwa was around my tree a lot in the beginning and ate the fruit from my tree. Then, as more started to fall, there were less anikwa around the tree. I believe this could be attributed to the flavor of the fruit as time went on, but I’m not sure.  The nutrients from the fruit may not be enough for the anikwa to build fat up for the winter. Also, maybe as they are building up their winter coats, they get more sluggish and don’t travel far from the areas where they are going to hibernate.

So far, I have learned a lot from observing my tree. I have learned that many of the things around it affect it. I’ve also learned that other changes run parallel to the changes of my tree. It’s very interesting to be able to observe the changes, just like our ancestors would. There is much to learn from the environment around us.  The fact that aayoonseekaahkwi’s leaves changed quickly may have warned our ancestors that winter was on its way. It may have also warned them that frost was coming, so they may have decided to harvest or do whatever before that first hard frost. Also, they may have decided to collect the fruits of the tree once they knew the cycle.

Circle representing the connections Lauren observed in 2009

Click here to see the complete web created by all the students as well as the translations for all of the words on the circle.

pipoonwi neehi miloohkami (Winter and Spring)

My ecological feature is the Black Walnut with the Myaamia name aayoonseekaahkwi. Although in the fall it is known for its leaves turning yellow the quickest, it surprisingly took them awhile to fall off. During the winter, the tree sat dormant for quite some time. Finally, as the temperature stayed at a pretty constant warm temperature, my tree began doing something. The first couple weeks of what I considered spring (end of mahkoonsa kiilhswa/early March), my tree really didn’t have anything going on. Then, about a week ago (so in between early and mid-April) I noticed small buds appearing on the tree. Now, as we are just about halfway through April, there are what look like little bunches of green leaves on the tree. There is no fruit that I noticed yet. I have noticed more squirrels around this tree now that the weather is nice.

This spring, my ecological feature went from being dormant all winter to showing some life again. Towards the beginning of April it began to get little buds, and then around the end of aanteekwa kiilhswa/mid-April it began to get little patches of baby leaves sporadically on the tree. Aayoonseekahki and kiinošiši had the most in common. They are cousin trees. At the end of March/beginning of April both trees began budding. They also got the little bunches of leaves at the same time. Neither tree had nests in them yet nor were there squirrels around them like previously in the year. The squirrels not being present is probably due to the fact that the trees do not have fruits on them yet. The connection between my tree and ciinkwia is pretty obvious too. The rain from ciinkwia has helped everything turn green and bloom, and my tree is no exception of that. Also, the thunderstorms are a signal of the changing of the seasons and so is the blooming of trees. Aanteekwa and aayoonseekaahkwi also have a connection. Aanteekwa was perched all by himself on aayoonseekaahkwi. He was just sitting all by himself. The return of aanteekwa happened about the same time that my tree began to get its leaves. They connect and show us that spring is here, just like the rain and the budding of the other trees.Moohswa became pretty present around the time that my tree began budding. Now, however, moohswa seem a little more scarce and do not really congregate around my tree. Aayoonseekahki, ciinkwia, aanteekwa, and moohswa all have a connection to my tree with some of the events that are going on around them and also that they all signify the changing of winter to spring.

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