Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

April Update: Ojibwemowin Advisory Committee Meets

Elders Chat About When They Were Young


A team effort to transfer English words and phrases into Ojibwemowin

"We are fulfilling a prophecy! One of the old prophesies said young people will be born with old spirits. Young people will be going to the drum and singing the old songs. Young people will go to the elders and start asking, asking for directions. And this is what these young people are doing. I'm very proud of them." ~Gichi-Ma'iingan (Larry Stillday) Obaashiing Miikana (The Road to Ponemah)

A mixture of elders/first speakers, teachers, and staff for Red Lake's Ojibwemowin Advisory Committee met at Oshki-maajitaadaa (New Beginnings) in Redby on Monday, April 11, 2016. They met from 3:30 until about 6:00 p.m.

The Ojibwemowin Council assembled for their monthly gathering in a meeting room where participants took seats in classroom style, including again, several residents of Jourdain/Perpich Nursing Home. The group meets each month to develop additional language materials and teaching tools for Red Lake Head Start Ojibwemowin Immersion School.

After an opening prayer, and the blessing of a Spirit Dish by Elizabeth "Pug" Kingbird, Dr. Giniwgiizhig, Curriculum Writer, Head Start Immersion Classroom opened the meeting with announcements and introductions. Because he was nursing a bad cold, he turned the agenda over to Zachariah Mitteness, Head Start Immersion Teacher.

Mitteness had written five sentences in Ojibwemowin on the white board at the front of the room. The Elders were asked to relate a short message about their childhood in order to document what it was like when they were growing up on the reservation.

It should be noted that some translations may differ slightly or even a lot, but because of Ojibwemowin's descriptive nature, it will likely be understood, and so then may be of little concern. Ojibwemowin fluent speakers may understand different dialects and even other Algonquin languages.

The Five Sentences Written by Mitteness

• Aaniin gaa-izhiwebak amaa ishkoniganing gii-agaashiiyiwiyeg? (What was happening on the reservation when you were small?)

• Awegonesh gaa-izhichigeyegiban eni ziigwang gii-nitaawigi'igooyeg? (What did you do in the spring when you were growing up?)

• Aaniin enendaman waa-inakamigak giishpin bakinaaged Donald Trump? (What do you think will happen if Donald Trump wins?)

• Aaniin ezhi ayaamagak owe Zaaga'igan eni-ziigwang? (What was it like when it gets to be spring?)

• Dazhindan ezhiwebak owe Zaaga'igan baakibiising. Talk about what it was like when the lake opens up.

Elders talked for 30 minutes or more telling often-humorous stories about their childhood on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. The stories were recorded for future use in perhaps many ways to help preserve the language and culture of the land.

Tami Liberty, Red Lake Middle School teacher and strong advocate for including more Ojibwemowin and Anishinaabe culture in the classroom, often asks the elders to translate words or phrases to be used in the school. Today she asked for translations for the following words for signage in the new school cafeteria.

Sometimes Elders would come up with more than one translation, which of course would be true in any language. Liberty's request included the following. (The English request is followed by the Elders Ojibwemowin translations)

• Sandwich Zone = Bakwezhiganikeng biitoosichigan (also reverse words), or bakwezhiganike waaka'igaans

• Grill Shop = Gizhide waaka'igaans or giboozigan waaka'igan

• Warriors Favorite = Ogichidaag menwanjgewaad or Ogichidaa miijim

• Salad Bar = Anooj waa miijiyan waaka'igaans

• Menu of the Day = Miijim noongom

Unable to have a gathering without being playful, one elder thought that an important translation for the Middle School cafeteria would be for bacon.

• Giikanaabate or gookoosh = bacon

The words, phrases and stories 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.

The next committee meeting of the Ojibwe Language Advisory Committee is scheduled for Monday, May 9, 2016, from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m., place to be announced. All are welcome to attend.

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."


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., 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 Red Lake College, and 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 publications.

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.

Early birds


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