Boozhoo is a greeting in Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibway language). It is a shorter form of Waynaboozhoo; Waynaboozhoo is a spiritual being that is very commonly referred to in ceremonies, creation stories and prayers. What I have learned is that this greeting is a verbal contract that you will respect and learn from each-other in a good way.
Well in my experience of attending several ceremonies over the past 25 years most times people begin with introductions. Over the course of my Masters in Education I had the opportunity to read some of Brent Debassige’s work. He wrote “Elder’s have always stated the importance of locating ourselves.” Please keep in mind this traditional introduction protocol is outside of the scholarly anti-racist and oppression conversation in terms of locating yourself; “where are you from” or “but where are you really from?” What I have come to know is when you locate yourself you are essentially locating yourself to the universe and creation; our first family. Most ceremonies in Anishinaabe country begin by identifying yourself in the language. People usually begin by first stating their Spirit Names, Clans, and the acknowledgement of their traditional territories. This Indigenous methodology of introduction can be found in most Anishinaabe prayers, ceremonies and events.
Also on my travels in most spaces that I have held and or occupied this method of introduction has been well received. I have practiced this method for a long time and each time I locate myself in the language out loud and I hear it come back to me from the universe, I feel a sense of pride, vulnerability, spirituality and connection to our first family.
Eddy Robinson M.Ed