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Nokomis is the name of Nanabozho's grandmother in the Ojibwe traditional stories andwas the name of Hiawatha's grandmother in Longfellow's poem, The Song of Hiawatha, which is a re-telling of the Nanabozho stories. Nokomis is an important character in the poem, mentioned in the familiar lines

By the shores of Gitche Gumeemarker,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest.

According to the poem, From the full moon fell Nokomis/Fell the beautiful Nokomis. She bears a daughter, Wenonah. Despite Nokomis' warnings, Wenonah allows herself to be seduced by the West-Wind, Mudjekeewis,Till she bore a son in sorrow/Bore a son of love and sorrow/Thus was born my Hiawatha.

Abandoned by the heartless Mudjekeewis, Wenonah dies in childbirth, leaving Hiawatha to be raised by Nokomis. The wrinkled old Nokomis/Nursed the little Hiawatha and educates him.

In the Ojibwe language, nookomis means "my grandmother," thus portraying Nokomis of the poem and the aadizookaan (Ojibwe traditional stories) from a more personal point of view, akin to the traditional Ojibwa narrative styles.

Places named after Nokomis

United States


Nokomis is also a character in Richard Adams Fantasy novel Maia. She has a son called Anda Nokomis.

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