October Update: Ojibwemowin Advisory Committee Meets
Elders Council Helps with Word Lists re: Dental Health Terms
A mixture of elders/first speakers, teachers, and staff for Red Lake's Ojibwemowin Advisory Committee attended their monthly meeting at Oshki-maajitaadaa (New Beginnings) in Redby on Monday, October 12, 2015, from 3:30 until about 6:00 p.m.
The Ojibwemowin Council gathered round a four-sided table-group, including again, several residents of Jourdain/Perpich Nursing Home. The group gathers each month to develop additional language materials and teaching tools for Red Lake Head Start Ojibwe Immersion School.
After an opening prayer by Zac Mitteness, Lead Teacher for the Head Start Immersion School, Immersion School Coordinator Elizabeth Strong, opened the meeting with announcements and asked those present to introduce themselves. Moving clockwise, all present shared their name, clan, and home in Ojibwemowin, including the non-fluent speakers who are at various levels of learning the language. These learners can't help but digest more Ojibwemowin and culture from these lighthearted and cheerful elders. Sometimes half the meeting or more is spoken in Ojibwemowin.
Janis Fairbanks, Anishinaabemowin Coordinator, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was a welcomed guest at the meeting. Fairbanks said she has read about the good work the group was doing and came to observe and to learn. Toward the end of the afternoon, she provided thank you gifts of fabric and wild rice to all of those present.
While the committee waited for work papers to be copied, a special lighthearted moment was provided by Elizabeth "Pug" Kingbird who took position in the center of the room and performed her rendition of The Three Little Pigs in Ojibwemowin. The animated Kingbird brought smiles to all and sometimes laughter as she acted out the Big Bad Wolf huffing and puffing and blowing down houses. All erupted in laughter and applause as she concluded her story by singing the "Pug" version of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," in Ojibwemowin.
Papers copied, Mitteness asked the elders and other speakers to help translate terms associated with dental health for the Head Start Immersion program. Ben Bonga, an Ojibwe speaker and frequent participant in Ojibwemowin programs went to the blackboard and wrote down the words and phrases as the fluent speaking Advisory Committee members discussed how to translate the English terms into Ojibwemowin. The spellings are always of the Red Lake dialect using the double vowel system for spelling.
If the Head Start Immersion school is to be successful, many words must be developed for subjects such a science and math in order to keep the language alive. Unlike many languages that might borrow words from English, Ojibwemowin does not and therefore must seek input of First Speakers to make sure that the language is correct...and in the Red Lake dialect. The following were some of the words and phrases translated by the group.
Terms Related to Dental Health
• False Teeth = Niibidaake
• Permanent Teeth – Apane?
• Baby Teeth = Aabinoojiiwiibidan
• Plaque = Wiinaabide
• Nerve = Jiichiibide
• Saliva = Ziikowin
• Filling = Mooshkinebajiishkaa'igan
• Sealant = Gibaabide'on
• Does your tooth hurt? = Giwiisagendaan ina giibid?
• Put finger on tooth that hurts = Izhinoo'an giibid waasagendaman
• Do cold or hot foods hurt teeth? = Gaadakiayaag magizhaa gaye?
• Brush your top teeth = Giziiyaabide'on ogij ayi'ii giiwiibidan
• Brush your bottom teeth = Giziiyaabide'on niisa'ayi'ii giiwiibidan
• Brush your gums = Giziiyaabide'on giiwiyasaabidan
• Brush your tongue = Giziiyaabide'on gidenaniw
• Please get your tooth brush = Indaga naadin giziiyaabide'igan
• Put toothpaste on your toothbrush = Atoon giziiyaabide'on imaa giiziibiiyaabide'igan
• Dental Floss = Wiibidoo biiminikwaanens asabaabiin
• I will brush on fluoride vitamins = Niwii zhiizhoobi'aan
• I will look at and count your teeth = Baakidoonenin gaa-agindaanan giibidan
The time having sped by, a light supper of pizza was enjoyed before the group headed home.
The next committee meeting of the Ojibwe Language Advisory Committee will be held Monday, November 9, 2015, from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. at Ponemah Round House in Ponemah. All are welcome to attend.
The words and phrases translated by the committee are being transcribed and will be made available, in the near future, to any and all...including Ojibwemowin dictionaries.... in order to document the Red Lake dialect.
Want to learn how to pronounce Ojibwemowin? Listen to Red Lake Spiritual/Cultural Advisor Eugene Stillday and others pronounce these and other words and phrases at the following U of M link for the "Ojibwe Peoples Dictionary." http://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu
Get Involved with Ojibwemowin and Cultural Revitalization in Your Community
The effort is part of the Head Start Immersion Classroom. Zac Mitteness is the lead teacher along with Marcus Tyler. Guiding elders, Frances Miller and Elizabeth "Pug" Kingbird, join them. The school is located within the halls of the new Red Lake Nation College and meets on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday weekly from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Ojibwe Language Revitalization Advisory Committee consists of First Speakers; Elizabeth "Pug" Kingbird, Frances Miller, Anna Gibbs, Susan Johnson, Mary Lou Stillday, Eliza Johnson, Murphy Thomas, Eugene Stillday, Donald Iceman, Sr., Robert "Shoopon" Kingbird, Violet Patterson, Arnold Kingbird, Lee Whitefeather, Carol Barrett and John Barrett, with more and more getting involved each meeting.
The group has developed immersion school project partners, including a collaboration of skilled and fluent speaking community members. Partners include the Red Lake School District, Head Start, and Red Lake Nation College.
The team meets monthly on the second Monday often at Oshki-maajitaadaa (New Beginnings) in Redby, but on occasion meets at other venues including the Ponemah Round House. The Ojibwemowin Council of Elders invites any and all to get involved with Ojibwemowin Language and Culture Revitalization within the Red Lake Nation community! Get involved in this or one of the many other cultural projects in your community for a better Red Lake Nation.
The Red Lake immersion programs use the "double vowel" system as developed and presented in the Nichols/Nyholm dictionary. The double vowel system is used at Ojibwemowin immersion schools, public schools, and colleges across the country. It is the preferred spelling used in Ojibwemowin books.
Red Lake Nation Language Revitalization Plan, Vision and Mission
It is our vision that within 10 years Red Lake will have a younger generation of fluent speakers that promote the language and culture in our communities and act as leaders for the next seven generations. It is our mission to promote this vision through an immersion school as well as through a variety of other initiatives.