Tag Archives: onaman paint

Onaman Collective (Module 4-Post2)


This collective work demonstrates the commitment to preserving language by creating an immersion art setting for participants. It is the elders, their knowledge, birds and plants, and language that are the driving force of this artistic purposed project that is used to revive one’s language. Initiated by Christi Belcourt and others.

“For thousands of years the Anishinabek have been using a Red Ochre paint called Onaman. It is made from red ochre, animal or fish fat, and other ingredients such as urine and duck or seagull eggs. These are cooked together on a low heat. The longer you cook the paint the redder it becomes. In the language the word “Onaman” refers to the action of thickening something. There are many types of Onaman, most of them use types of Fungi, and each of them thickening agents, particularly in the clotting of blood in wounds.” – Isaac Murdoch