Making Sure Anishinaabe Remains a Living Language

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown March 25th, 2015 Last Updated on: March 25th, 2015

Photo by Troye Fox

Photo by Troye Fox

Just like any area in the United States, the languages of its original inhabitants is deeply embedded in places names such as cities, rivers and mountains. Take Anishinaabemowin for example: Lake Michigan (great sea), Chicago (land of the chigag, or skunk) and Wauwatosa (firefly). Professors at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee are now teaching the Native American language for full-credit and hope to make it a living language not just one of historical significance.

“One component of a living language is that it is not only spoken fluently, but also used creatively,” Assistant Professor of English Margaret Noodin says about ojibwe.net, the website she helped create with Anishinaabe Web architect Stacie Sheldon. There’s also a Facebook page where users chat about current events in English and Ojibwe. “It’s how kids communicate now. It’s little moments here and there that add up. If we don’t use the language creatively into the future, then all we’re doing is documenting a language that’s dying.”

In this video produced by UW-Milwaukee Media Team, UWM student Bryce Stevenson (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) talks about the importance of learning the Anishinaabe language.

To read more on the story, visit UWM News.

For more information on Ojibwe lessons, stories, songs and more, visit http://ojibwe.net/.

Home » Native American Articles » Languages » Making Sure Anishinaabe Remains a Living Language

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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They’ve had this as a language requirement choice at UW Madison for years.

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