Epiitendaagwak Ojibwemowin

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Leech Lake Tribal College
Start Date
January 2014
End Date
June 2015
Activity Type
Project Overview

-Create and execute internship program for four Ojibwe students per academic year
-Strengthen and enhance Ojibwe curriculum for college levels 4 and 5
-Increase the number of near-fluent speakers of Ojibwe language

About the Issue

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


Project Details

LLTC intends to use this money to provide and expand opportunities for students interested in learning Ojibwe language through internships that involve tutoring, leading study groups, acting as language instructor’s teacher’s aide, creating public awareness and other activities that preserve Ojibwe language. An overarching goal is to create and execute an internship program for (4) students per academic year. This project will strengthen and enhance Ojibwe curriculum for levels 4 and 5 within the college. A long term goal is to increase the number of near-fluent speakers of the Ojibwe language.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chp. 137, Art. 4, Sec. 2, Sub. 10 (b)
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Measurable Outcome(s)

Hired a total of six interns, ranging from beginner learners as well as more advanced learners. Each intern brought in energy and interests that made their internships unique to the individual. We had two women and four men ages 18 - 57. This was most enjoyable as far as grant work; wathing as they gained a higher level of knowing. We created public awaraeness of language throught print and radio with the 12 month of the monthly Ojibwe Language puzzle page for the local Tribal newspaper, the DeBahJiMon, which was done completely by the interns. All but two interns have completed their audios and the interns who did complete these audios have been airing regularly on our tribal radio station, KOJB 90.1 FM The Eagle. Poster for the bathrooms on campus and in community are complete. In January and February we held Traditional Stroytelling where well over 120 community members gathered in the Drum Room on campus to join us. Fluent speaking elders from Sugar Point, Ponemah, and White Earth shared Aadizookaanan (winter legends) and Debaajimowinan (stories from thier lives). People from all walks of life, babies to grandmothers were in attendance. This multi-generational setting is the tradtional learning and teaching setting that the Anishinaabe people have always functioned by. The gift and art of storytelling is one that the Anishinaabe peoplel have forever lived by. The stories teach us how to live, love, and help us view the world in an Anishinaabe way. We hosted the first annual Epiitendaagwak Ojibwemowin Quiz Bowl here at LLTC on Saturday, April 11, 2015. In attendance were; Bemidji State, University of Minnesota, Red Lake Nation College, and our college. We had a total of 7 teams, with four for Division I and three for Division II. We hired two fluent speaking grandmothers and a learned speaker to creat eh questions containing frequent vocabulary words. In addition to the quiz bowl, we had a very successful powwow that this grant sponsored. We hired 2 fluent speakers and a near fluent speaker to be our spiritual advisor, arena director, and master of ceremony so there was quite a lot of language being spoken at our powwow. Community members and elders alike commented on how much they loved the fact there was more language than they ever remembered.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Leech Lake Tribal College
Street Address
PO Box 180, 6945 Little Wolf Road
Cass Lake
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

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