White Earth Band wants road signs to reflect Ojibwe language
The sign says “Elbow Lake.” But the White Earth Band of Ojibwe wants that sign to reflect the lake’s Ojibwe name: “Gaaodooskwaani Gamaag.”
The band has asked Becker County officials to let them install a dozen bilingual signs along county roads as part of an urgent effort to preserve the language. They hope to start by putting signs on the reservation, in northern Minnesota, eventually placing them beyond its borders.
The signs would boost public awareness of the Ojibwe language and culture, said Mary Otto, White Earth’s assistant education director. And they’d mean something special to the band’s children, who learn Ojibwe words and phrases in class, she said.