University of Minnesota-Morris

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Start Date
January 2014
End Date
June 2015
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2014, Chp. 137, Art. 4, Sec. 2, Sub. 10 (b)
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Number of full time equivalents funded
Measurable Outcome(s)

Gabriel Desrosiers worked through the summer to develop a 3000 level Ojibwe Song and Dance course. The course was approved at 2000 level and is being offered in Spring 2014. Gabe also coordinated andhosted the Anishinaabe quiz bowl for high school student on the UMM campus on November 8

Measurable Outcome(s)

2013. There were eight teams that participated. Several of Mr. Desrosiers' students assisted with scoring and hosting students. The high school students participants also participated in campus tours and had the opportunity to interact with elders while at UMM.

Project Overview

-Expand American Indian studies curriculum
-Support college student fluency of Dakota and Ojibwe languages
-Support a pre-doctoral fellow to develop curriculum and begin to offer Dakota I and II and UMM
-Create a structure to support the development of leaders in the language-learning community
-Develop partnerships with local area tribal communities

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

The purpose of this grant is to expand the American Indian Studies curriculum offerings to include greater language practice and introduce theories of language development and revitalization to support more college students to fluency in language and culture. Develop advanced Ojibwe language curriculum to allow intermediate Anishinaabe speakers to become more advanced and fluent in the language at UMM. Support a pre-doctoral level fellow to develop curriculum and begin to offer Beginning Dakota I and II at UMM. Create a structure to support the development of leaders within the higher education academy who are grounded in Dakota and Anishinaabe values and prepared to lead college-level language revitalization efforts in partnership with the area tribal communities.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
University of Minnesota Morris
Street Address
600 East 4th St.
Zip Code