Anishinaabe Word of The Day

Maple Sugar Camp (iskigamizigan)

Sugar bush refers to a forest stand of maple trees which is utilized for maple syrup. This was originally an Indigenous camp set up for several weeks each spring, beginning when the ice began to melt and ending when the tree buds began to open.[1] At a traditional sugarbush, all the trees were hand tapped and the sap was boiled over wood fires. The Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) peoples have been doing sugarbush for generations and consider the process both a part of food and of medicine.[2]

The tree canopy is dominated by sugar maple or black maple. Other tree species, if present, form only a small fraction of the total tree cover. In the Canadian provinces of New BrunswickOntarioQuebec and Nova Scotia, and in some New England states, many sugar bushes have a sugar shack where maple syrup can be bought or sampled.[3]


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Ojibwe people have made maple sugar, a traditional dietary staple, for centuries. It is easily accessed in the woodlands of Minnesota and can be stored for months without spoiling. While the technology used in the process has changed over the years, Ojibwe people continue to harvest maple sugar in the present day.


Related Words

Giinetawind giga-‘o-gabeshimin iwidi iskigamiziganing.
Just us will go camp at the sugar bush.

Niwii-izhaamin iskigamiziganing.
We’re going to the sugar bush.