-Increase Ojibwe language proficiency in two apprentices and fluency in two masters
-Raise public awareness of Ojibwe language in community
-Create collaboration with Economic Development Language Preservation Group to integrate language curriculum into Head Start program
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.
As languages are inherently inseparable from individual and communal identity, they are difficult to eradicate from a culture. Severing the people from their lands, denying them sustenance, and forcing them into English-only boarding schools was not successful in destroying these languages. For more than 100 years such assaults were aggressively pursued as the official policy of federal and state governments in the United States in attempt to eradicate the languages, and yet the languages of the Dakota and Ojibwe people survive. The survival of Dakota and Ojibwe languages, however, remains threatened. Indigenous language revitalization now requires heroic measures in order for these languages to not only survive, but to thrive and to live on for future generations.
The goal of this project is to increase Ojibwe language and cultural proficiency in two apprentices and fluency in two masters while also increasing positive language imaging in the community over the course of an 18-month period. The intent it to partner with the Economic Development Language Preservation Group and Red Lake Head Start to integrate Master/Apprentice teams into the Head Start program. Another goal is to support Head Start objectives of child development and school readiness through integration of Ojibwe language objectives