Department of Indian Studies-Ojibwe People's Dictionary

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Project Overview

The objective of the grant is to develop a strategy and responsive plan for wide-spread public engagement with the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary during the first year it will be available on-line. Speakers of the Ojibwe language, beyond the group of Ojibwe elders in Minnesota with whom the University now collaborates with, may be encouraged to contact the University once the dictionary is online and wish to participate in the next stage of the dictionary’s development. The University also expects that smaller historical societies and museums, tribal colleges, tribal and non-tribal organizations, and other institutions and even individuals may have collections—historic photographs, films, audio and visual materials, primary archival documents and other important secondary sources, and historic or contemporary language materials they will want to contribute to the OPD. This grant will provide the Department of American Indian Studies with funds to support appropriately trained graduate and undergraduate students to work with organizations, institutions, and members of the Ojibwe community throughout Minnesota and the region during the second year of the OPD, the first year of public response and reaction, which will contribute to the long-term success of the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, making it truly a “People’s” dictionary.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, 1st Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 4, Section 2, Subd. 11
Appropriation Language

Language Preservation and Education. $550,000 the first year and $550,000 the second year are for grants for programs that preserve Dakota and Ojibwe Indian languages and to foster educational programs in Dakota and Ojibwe languages. 

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Measurable Outcome(s)

This past year the Department of American Indian Studies and our graduate students traveled to Ojibwe communities, continued to record Ojibwe speakers, worked with the collections at the Minnesota Historical Society's library and archives, and expanded the collections foundation of the dictionary. Most significantly, the two graduate students working on the project responded to the early public reactions to the dictionary, and joined faculty in creating public awareness of the new resource for the Ojibwe language. Also, the PI for the grant, Department of American Indian Studies Chair, Professor Brenda Child, organized a large public event on the U of M campus to formally launch the dictionary, with about one hundred people in attendance. The public launch also involved extensive media interviews, and Child appeared on public television and radio shows, and gave interviews to a number of newpapers, including the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune. The Ojibwe People's Dictionary builds upon the scholarly work of A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe (Nichols, Nyholm), a book widely used in Ojibwe communities of the United States and Canada. The dictionary will be useful in Ojibwe languages classes, especially those taught at the University of Minneosta's Twin-Cities and Duluth campuses, MNSCU campuses, and tribal colleges. Because it is a free, public website, it is potentially a resource for the 200,000 Ojibwe people of the US and Cananda, many of whom reside in Minnesota.

Project Manager
First Name
Dr. Brenda Child, Department Chair
Organization Name
University of Minnesota
Street Address
200 Oak Street SE #200
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

161 Saint Anthony Ave
Suite 919
St. Paul, MN 55103