Moses Fisher – 1959 Speaker
1959 Speaker of Biigtigong Nishnaabemwin
Moses Fisher was a strong advocate for, and practioner of, our Nishnaabe spiritual ways. In the face of calculated assaults on our Nishnaabe way of living, including our culture, language, land, governance, and spirituality, Moses continued to practice our traditional ways. He secretly continued caring for a traditional bundle in spite of the intense pressures to abandon these ways. He often retreated to the bush to practice our traditional ceremonial ways. Moses openly and proudly sang Nishnaabemwin songs on a hand drum which he cared for. His family recently repatriated that drum from the Museum of Civilization.
Moses was a fluent speaker of Nishnaabemwin. He also understood and spoke some Wmashkiigoomwin (Cree language), as he often acted as an interpreter at trapper conventions.
His worldview was grounded in his relationship with the natural world. Moses saw the world as interconnected and interdependent. Showing respect for the land, water, animals, plants, fish, air and the spiritual realm, he sought to attain balanced and harmonious relationships with the entire Universe. As a trapper, Moses spent much of his time out on the land with his family. He loved blueberry picking and making blueberry preserves; and, he loved his two horses.
Along with his wife Angeline, they raised nine children. He was known as a family man and modeled love and affection. Moses was a nurturing father and grandfather and instilled in his children and grandchildren the value of taking care of each other. As a community man, he always took action to help out.
Moses did not seek out, nor did he receive, any formal type of schooling. Indeed, it was with the informal assistance of an old prospector that Moses learned how to read and write the English language. He was involved in staking claims throughout the area, especially around Manitouwadge. Moses had extensive knowledge about our territory and the abundance of its natural resources. He continued living our Nishnaabe ways and speaking our Nishnaabe language until the very end of his time in this physical world.