Elder Centered Curriculum Development Project
The short term goal of this project is to develop a K-3rd grade Ojibwe language CORE curriculum and a K-3rd Dakota language CORE curriculum designed for use in an immersion setting. Additionally, twenty five Ojibwe and Dakota Elders Speakers will be engaged in the development of the curriculum
Minnesota’s most enduring languages are in danger of disappearing. Without timely intervention, the use of Dakota and Ojibwe languages – like indigenous languages throughout the globe -- will decline to a point beyond recovery.These languages embody irreplaceable worldviews. They express, reflect, and maintain communal connections and ways of understanding the world. Deeper than the disuse of vocabulary or grammar, the loss of an indigenous language is destruction of a complex system for ordering the relationships among people and the natural world, for solving social problems, and connecting people to something beyond themselves.
The project has two objectives that flow from the goals.
Objective (1): to produce 2 Ojibwe and 2 Dakota interdisciplinary curriculum units for K-3rd grades that are aligned with Minnesota State Academic Standards for literacy/reading, numeracy/math and science by the end of the project year; Objective (2): to engage a minimum of 25 Ojibwe and Dakota Elder Speakers in all facets of the project over the course of the year from the development of the curriculum frameworks, to the ongoing review of written and digital curriculum, and final validation and endorsement of the curriculum prior to publication/release.
$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.
The outcomes we expect to realize as a result of this project are many.?More standards-based curriculum available for use in immersion programs/schools throughout the state and region thus eliminating the need for individual teachers to develop curriculum ?as they go.?Broad ownership of the curriculum produced due to the ongoing input and engagement of Elder speakers.??Increase in the number of language immersion programs/opportunities available for language revitalization due to the availability of Ojibwe and Dakota core curriculum units in paper and digital formats.?More children participating in language immersion programs and developing language fluency.?Stronger alignment of language immersion curriculum with Minnesota State Academic Standards resulting in higher quality education for children.Strategies to Achieve the Goals:?The Ojibwe and Dakota Elder-Centered Curriculum Development Project will utilize two primary strategies to achieve its goals. The first of these is hiring qualified consultants to coordinate the project and produce the curriculum. They will work closely with the elders to understand how language is taught and how culture is the link that makes language relevant to the student?s experience.The second strategy is to place elders and culture at the center of all development activity. This strategy is critical to the design of the project as the knowledge and experiences shared by elders will be used to develop the curriculum frameworks that will guide the curriculum development process from start to finish. It will also ensure that the curriculum focuses on teaching?through?rather than about the language and culture, a requirement for successful immersion programs (Dakota and Ojibwe Language Revitalization in Minnesota, Report to the Legislature, February 15 2011; page 10).??
We were notified that the US Dept. Of Health and Human Services, Admin for Children and Families, Administration for Native Americans (ANA) awarded Bdote Charter School a three-year grant. The grant will be used to continue developing Ojibwe and Dakota curriculum for the school and for the start-up of the school. The Bdote ANAN grant included reference to the grant awarded by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and the work already underway to create a core curriculum for Dakota and Ojibwe immersioni programs throughout the state of MN and elsewhere. We believe that the fact that this work was already underway helped to influence grant decisions made at the federal level.