Niigaane Ojibwemowin Immersion School

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2014
End Date
June 2015
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2014, Chp. 137, Art. 4, Sec. 2, Sub. 10
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
2
Measurable Outcome(s)

Niigaane has three fluent first-speaking elders who work with the teachers to assist them with their lesson delivery and lesson planning. Each elder was assigned to one specific Niigaane classroom for the year, teaming up with that classroom teacher. Observations from the elders provide constant feedback to Niigaane teachers on language and cultural protocols. This collaboration between elders and teachers in Niigaane has been very positive and has ensured that teachers are continuing to develop in their own language learning. The 3rd - 4th grade level teacher is the teacher mentee of the the grant and receives additional language and cultural knowledge and support to increase her proficiency. Niigaane teachers continue to use the Ojibwemowin oral reading fluency testing that was developed in 2004-2005.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2014, Chp. 137, Art. 4, Sec. 2, Sub. 10
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Measurable Outcome(s)

Niigaane has three fluent first-speaking elders who work with the teachers to assist them with their lesson delivery and lesson planning. Each elder was assigned to one specific Niigaane classroom for the year, teaming up with that classroom teacher. Observations from the elders provide constant feedback to Niigaane teachers on language and cultural protocols. This collaboration between elders and teachers in Niigaane has been very positive and has ensured that teachers are continuing to develop in their own language learning. The 3rd - 4th grade level teacher is the teacher mentee of the the grant and receives additional language and cultural knowledge and support to increase her proficiency. Niigaane teachers continue to use the Ojibwemowin oral reading fluency testing that was developed in 2004-2005.

Project Overview

-K-12 immersion site curriculum development.
-Fluent speakers in the classroom
-Develop testing and evaluation procedures
-Community-based training and engagement

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

Niigaane Ojibwemowin Immersion School is responding to a need for Ojibwe culture-based education. Niigaane employs teams of culture-based education alignment specialists, curriculum writers and teachers to focus on and deliver relevant content in classrooms. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is also committed through direct funding of the school and fluent elder teachers spend weekly time in the classroom. Outreach activities are performed such as students presenting at the Minnesota Indigenous Language Symposium using their Indigenous language.