ABOUT CECELIA ROSE - NIGIG-ENZ BAAPI - ᓂᑭᑫᓐᔅᐹᐦᐱ
Nigig-enz Baapi nindizhinikaaz. Ajijaak doodem. Kchiwiikwedong miinawaa Mashkiziibi nindonjibaa. Naaminitigong nindaa.
My name is Little Laughing Otter. I am crane clan. I come from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibway. I live in the land beneath the trees (Manistee, MI).
Cecelia Rose LaPointe is Ojibway/Métis who is Mashkiziibi (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe or LaPointe Band of Ojibwe) and Kchiwiikwedong (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community - Michigan). She is enrolled in Mashkiziibi and maintains a strong community affiliation to Kchiwiikwedong. She is ajijaak dodem (crane clan). Nigig-enz Baapi - Little Laughing Otter is her Ojibway name given by relation and lovely elder Janice Shalifoe. Otter's are responsible to bring medicine and knowledge to their people. The medicine is brought across the water. Otter's are solitary and spend equally as much time on the land and water. Cecelia swam in a pool when she was 6 months old and swam in Gitchee Gumee (Lake Superior) when she was 9 months old.
The LaPointe family is Ojibway/Métis/Nipissing/Huron with roots in Kchiwiikwedong, Maskiziibi, and Mooniingwanekaaning-minis (Madeline Island, Wisconsin). Our family and ancestral circle follows the Anishinaabe-Ojibway migration story. LaPointe Métis ancestry has been mixing since the early 1600's. Métis are recognized as an official group of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada but unfortunately in the United States are not federally recognized due to the obsession with picking one race as a way of erasure and settler colonialism around Indigeneity. Our Métis ancestry is connected to Mooniingwanekaaning-minis which maintained a strong Métis community during the fur trade. Most importantly, Mooniingwanekaaning-minis is considered to be a very important place and ancestral homeland for our Ojibway people. Cecelia's European ancestry is mainly German and Scandinavian (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) with Indigenous Sámi heritage in which she is currently researching.
She is a poet and writer published in anthologies, booklets, chapbooks, dissertations, journals, magazines, and online Indigenous-Native publications. Cecelia's poetry boldly weaves Anishinaabe heritage and identity, decolonization, environmental justice, First Nations/Native American/Métis identity, marginalized identities, matriarchy, oppression, racial justice, sobriety, social justice, and Two-Spirit identity. A strong theme and passion you will see in each of her poems relates to healing justice, particularly around historical and intergenerational trauma.
Cecelia is the Founder and Owner of both Red Circle Consulting, Waub Ajijaak Press and the Native Justice Coalition. Please see the above tabs for more information.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a Master of Arts in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Cecelia was also a former competitive cross country and track athlete for three years in high school and two years in college. She ran one year at Michigan State University and the other at Wayne State University. Her best 5K is 18:32 and best 10K is 38:55. Cecelia overcame a near death case of severe iron deficiency anemia in high school. This affected her athletic and academic performance but still she rose! Please read - My Running Career, Eating Disorder and Healing.
Prior generations paved the path of community work and organizing in her family and ancestral circle. This amazing work includes: a socialist union organizer who assisted in building and founding the UAW, a civil rights activist in Detroit - Reverend Charles Hill, Sr., a Great Uncle who created a health center in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community - Donald A. LaPointe Health and Education Center, Native American ancestors surviving as resistance, humble social justice Catholics, and being raised in a progressive union blue collar home. Her community work started at age twelve when she spoke out against gentrification in her hometown at city commission meetings and gathered signatures going door-to-door with her Mother. From the age of twelve onward her work has spanned social justice issues including: environmental justice in Anishinaabe Aki, racial justice, healing justice, and many other issues. She prefers to use the words “community work” instead of activism. Cecelia's life and work is guided by the strong foundation of the ancestors and her belief in Indigenous survivance and resistance from a Two-Spirit matriarchal view.
Two-Spirit is who they are! Cecelia was born into a female body but identifies first and foremost as Two-Spirit (Ogichidaakwe - which translates to "warrior woman" in the Ojibway language). Using majority culture terms she also identifies as androgynous, and gender non-conforming. This identity exists outside of colonized lines and socially constructed gender roles. Growing up in a Detroit suburb before gentrification they had a gay book store two blocks from their house and watched pride parades go down the street as a kid. Cecelia doesn't mind using gender pronouns of she/her/her but also approves of they/them/their. They are very comfortable in her own body as a Two-Spirit and as she breathes, moves, and creates, her everyday existence is resistance. Please note that Two-Spirit is not for settlers and settlers of color. Respect the cultures across Turtle Island and don’t engage in cultural appropriation.
Cecelia is passionate about recovery, sobriety, and wellbriety, which is a term that Native people use to describe recovery in all forms while embracing culture and traditions. She has been walking the red road to wellbriety since January 1, 2010. Cecelia has an unwavering belief that sobriety is a not only traditional for the Anishinaabe but it is also a form of resistance and decolonization. Recovery resists racism!
She loves birds, cats, rotary phones, trains, constellations, stars, roses, tea, reading, writing, running, hiking, dancing, and trees! She dislikes patriarchy, addictions, anti-social media (superficial likes and selfies), television, and violence. Cecelia's personality type is INFJ, which is extremely rare and makes up less than one percent of the world's population.
She resides in Anishinaabe Aki on the land and water occupied by the "State of Michigan," with her cat-companion Mishi Bizhiw (Lynx, Curly Tail, Underwater Panther).