Anton Treuer on language revitalization and the Rosetta Stone


November 5, 2020

I dial the number sent to my phone. It rings maybe two times. "Hello," says a rather cheerful voice, "This is Anton Treuer." I stumble through a brief introduction and ask him if it would be alright that we conduct this interview over Zoom, to which he agrees. Treuer's face blinks onto my screen and we begin our conversation. "So Anton, tell me a little about yourself."

"Sure. I'm Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University. I come from Leech Lake. My Ojibwe name is Waagosh, which means Fox. I'm from the Eagle clan." Treuer is also the author of nineteen books, the recipient of over forty awards and fellowships, and is considered by many to be a renowned Ojibwe spiritual leader and language warrior.

Treuer's latest book, ​The Language Warrior's Manifesto (Minnesota Historical Society Press, January 2020)​ is about the importance of language revitalization. He's been fighting the battle of language revitalization and helping keep lit the flame of Ojibwe spirituality for many year. Treuer has much incite to offer about the importance of these aspects of Indigenous life, "There are a lot of things that impact us as human beings and impact our identity. Every language embodies a unique worldview and ultimately, I would say we're impacted by our language and our cultural practices. We have everything from sacred societies, drumming, medicine dance, to every day culture ­– the way we live our lives. Those are the things that keep us grounded in our indigeneity.


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