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date: 13 June 2024

Ojibwe Language Education in Minnesota and Wisconsinlocked

Ojibwe Language Education in Minnesota and Wisconsinlocked

  • Mary HermesMary HermesUniversity of Minnesota Twin Cities

Summary

The Ojibwe language, also referred to as Anishinaabemowin, is the language of the Ojibwe people in the Great Lakes region of North America. It has many mutually intelligible dialects and variations, making it one of the largest Indigenous languages in North America. While Ojibwe is an endangered language, with most speakers in the United States over the age of 70, it is also one that is being revitalized. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Ojibwe language is very widely taught and supported in both formal and informal educational contexts. It is taught in many preschools, elementary schools, and secondary schools and in tribal colleges and universities. Outside of institutions, families and individuals have made great strides to reclaim Ojibwe as their home language. Language camps, family language gatherings, and language tables are popular and can be found throughout the year. One of the most outstanding examples of reclamation is the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion Institute in northern Wisconsin. Waadookodaading impacts the entire area’s Ojibwe language-learning communities by showing that an immersion school can indeed produce highly proficient second-language speakers. Immersion schools, preschools, and family language camps are numerous throughout the midwestern United States and Canada, and many families now trying to use Ojibwe as their home language. However, the economic hurdle remains; that is, jobs that demand Ojibwe language as a daily useful skill are sparse. Although there are many institutions that teach Ojibwe as a subject, this teaching can sometimes only be a doorway to language appreciation rather than fluency. Despite these challenges, the resilient spirit of individuals connecting language and identity loss directly to the colonization of Ojibwe and other Indigenous people is a fierce one.

Subjects

  • Education, Change, and Development
  • Education, Cultures, and Ethnicities

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