Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Minnesota developers create video game with a special mission: helping preserve the Ojibwe language

Upon awaking in a forest at the start of "Reclaim!" - a video game created by Minnesota-based nonprofit Grassroots Indigenous Multimedia - a young Ojibwe girl realizes she must converse with animals to make her way home. Players click around to make the cartoon protagonist walk around the 3-D environment, solving puzzles as she talks with an all-knowing cat and other creatures for hints on how to repair her tobacco pouch.

Unlike most point-and-click adventure games, this one has a unique purpose: It's intended to act as a tool to help teach and preserve the Ojibwe language, also known as Ojibwemowin. Every conversation in the game includes at least a few Ojibwe words mixed in with English text displayed on the screen, and voice-over actors provide dubbed audio that's delivered entirely in Ojibwemowin.

The creators said the game is intended to teach and highlight the Ojibwe language and its culture without having to sacrifice the fun of a video game. They said they saw a need for entertainment that uses the Ojibwe language outside of a school environment.


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