|In the summer of 1909, after the
planning and discussion of several years, there was formed an honorary
society of old Keewaydinites, and it was called The Gigitowin, the
Indian name for Council. Membership in the The Gigitowin is open
upon the same basis to members of the staff and campers of Temagami Wigwam
who have been at camp for at least two seasons.
The purpose of The Gigitowin is two-fold: first, to unite its members into a body that will meet as often as may be during the winter and keep up the Keewaydin spirit; and secondly, to act as a representative body of the staff and campers here at Keewaydin, to take the lead in all camp movements, to bring before the staff any new camp policies that they think should be established or old ones they think should be changed — in short, to be the tribunes of the people of Keewaydin. Admission to The Gigitowin is a signal honor to either a staff member or a camper, for it means that such a one has made good at Keewaydin in every way.
— The Keewaydin Kicker, 1915
Women join the Gig
In 2002, the first women joined the Gigitowin:
Rachel Cullingham, Bright Dickson, Tracy Hoeger, Kate Witherspoon.
In 1978, Sandy Chivers was invited to join the all-male organization. Her invitation came after serving two years as assistant storekeeper, but she declined. And so did Buds Belanger and Diane Toogood. In those cases, the Gigitowin made the decision to allow them to join on an individual basis. In 2001, at the end of the season, the Gigitowin voted to allow any and all women, eligible on the same basis as men, to join the organization. Four eligible women, all staff, were asked to join this summer and went through the initiation.
Glossary of the Gig
Anika-Ogima — [a-NI-ka AU-gi-ma] Second Ogima or vice-chair (formerly vice-president).
ashkenaweg — [ush-ke-NA-weg] Any non-Gigitowin member or non-papoosiwog, especially campers or staff who will be seeking membership in future years.
Begikwinini — [be-GI-kwi-nini] The marshal of the Gigitowin whose duties are: to perform public announcements; usher papoosiwogs to initiations; and lead the annual Peerade at midseason. His sign of office is the staff of The Great White Bear, and he heralds his presence with three raps.
Gig — Gigitowin
Gig pin — Gigitowin member's lapel pin adorned with a white bear and three stars. The three stars were originally the three Ks of Kamp Kahkou. They were replaced to remove any unintended association with the Klan.
Mashkikwinini — [mush-KI-kwi-nini] Secretary-treasurer.
Ogima — [AU-gi-ma] Chairperson (formerly president)
papoosiwog — [pa-POO-see-wawg] A candidate for membership
Peerade — The procession of old-timers, campers and staff, ordered by their first Keewaydin year, and led by the officers of the Gigitowin during midseason.
Sacred Emblems — "The life giving cariboo, the succulent prune, and the lordly bacon."
Tchebaquid — [ji-BAW-quid] An officer who acts as mentor and guide to papoosiwogs.
White Bear — Totem of the Gigitowin. A totem is the emblem of an Ojibway family associated with paternal descent and hunting territories.
Maps and information herein are not intended for navigational use, and are not represented to be correct in every respect.
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