Bemidji State's summer Ojibwe immersion camp wins national honor
Nov. 23, 2015 — Bemidji State University’s Ojibwe Language Summer Camp — Ojibwemowin Niibinishi Gabeshi — which offers a unique opportunity for students to become immersed in Ojibwe culture, has won the Innovative Award for Non-Credit Programs from the North American Association of Summer Sessions.
Jan Yopp, the association’s committee chair for creative and innovative awards, said Ojibwemowin Niibinishi Gabeshi was recognized for “its impact on students and adaptability for other campuses.”
The association recognizes member schools that offer creative and innovative programs each year at is annual conference. The awards are meant to highlight the importance of curriculum development, acknowledge programs that make outstanding contributions to the management, operation or marketing of summer sessions, and to give its members an opportunity to learn from one another.
Entries are judged on creativity, uniqueness, benefit to students and adaptability to other institutions.
“We have a unique program and its impact on students is so great,” said Angie Gora, BSU’s summer programs director. “Even if we didn’t win, it was important to let others know that we have this camp. There’s an opportunity for for other universities to do programs like this.”
About Ojibwemowin Niibinishi Gabeshi
At Bemidji State’s Ojibwemowin Niibinishi Gabeshi, Anishinaabe faculty and staff teach campers about the Ojibwe language, history, cultural traditions and Native arts. Current Bemidji State students serve as camp counselors, chaperoning students to daily activities and facilitating evening programs. Ojibwe language proficiency isn’t required to participate in the camp.
At the 2015 camp, students spent their mornings in daily language courses where they learned commands, how to use those commands in sentences, and how to formally introduce themselves in Ojibwe. Campers also learned about food sovereignty, explored a local farm and learned the differences between indigenous foods and processed foods.
During the second week, students learned Ojibwe crafts. In addition to drawing and painting projects, they learned how to do bead work and completed a small leather project. In the evenings, they explored traditional games, participated in an Ojibwe language table and enjoyed recreational time on Lake Bemidji. Campers also learned basic first aid and CPR techniques and were shown how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator by Leech Lake Ambulance Services.
2016 Camp Information
Dates are set for the 2016 Ojibwemowin Niibanishi Gabeshi. The two-week camp will be held July 11-15 and July 18-22. Registration materials are now available on the conference website.