Language Table and Master/Apprentice
-Employ local elder language expert to conduct semi-weekly language tables
-Engage apprentices in basic Ojibwe conversation
-Obtain a state of MN American Indian Language and Culture teaching license (k-12)
-Hold culture committee meetings that will identify needs of language project and help to support
-Committee will also work to elicit maximum participation of community member in Ojibwe education
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
Grant money awarded will be used to hire a local Elder Language Expert who will conduct semi-weekly language tables. Bois Forte Language and Cultural Coordinator will teach apprentices basic Anishinabaee fluency, proficiency, and literacy via language tables in two geographic regions of the reservation. Another goal is to seek to obtain a State of Minnesota American Indian Langauge and Culture teaching license for grades k-12. Bois Forte will hold Culture Committee meetings that will identify needs and provide support for the language project. The Committee will meet quarterly and will elicit maximum community participation in learning the Ojibwe language.