On the afternoon of Thursday, October 10th, community stakeholders gathered at the Red Lake Casino for a strategic planning meeting to discuss the future of the Ojibwe Language on the reservation. The Department of Economic Development and Planning hosted the event in order to bring community members together to engage in critical discussion about how to address the issue of language loss in the Community.
The meeting began with an invocation by First Speaker Eugene Stillday and was followed by a presentation prepared by the Economic Development and Planning Staff. Members of the staff took turns presenting information on various Indigenous Immersion School Initiatives, as well as, reported on new data collected from community surveys on Ojibwe Language. Some of the survey results reported:
70% of children and 82% of adults felt strongly that the Tribe should make Ojibwemowin a priority and 57% of children and 84% of adults wanted to see more Ojibwe signage in the community.
The attendees broke into small working groups and began to identify language learning options and listed action items in order to achieve these objectives. Before the meeting adjourned the whole group came together and established a list of Community wide priorities:
1.) Establish consistent funding.
2.) Start our own Ojibwe Immersion School.
3.) Create more community language learning opportunities for adults.
4.) Get Tribal Government involved.
5.) Produce learning materials that are accessible to the community.
6.) Host more cultural and language events.
After priorities where established, the staff broke the topics into sub-committees where attendees had the opportunity to sign-up and volunteer to assist with different aspects of the initiative. The basis of establishing new language committees was to allow community members to directly participate with the effort, in order to make the whole initiative more successful. Each sub-committee will work with the EDP staff and will meet monthly in order to make continual progress throughout the year.
If you would like to participate in future meetings or would like more information on the Ojibwe Langauge Revitalization efforts please contact Elizabeth Strong at 218-679-1503 or e-mail email@example.com