Tribe develops language immersion
By Lynn Fischer
Condensed by Native Village
Michigan: The Saginaw Chippewa
Indian Tribe has
created a new Anishinaabe language immersion
program. The tribe's main goal is to
produce Anishinaabe speakers for the
community, said Rhonda Hopkins,
director for the Saginaw Tribe's
class has 10 students, 16-months to
2-year-old. Classes are from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m. Monday thru Thursday.
The minute they get on the school bus,
students start speaking Anishinaabe.
They understand all the Anishinaabe used
in the classroom. They also don't notice the
difference between Anishinaabe and
The Saginaw Chippewa are
planning more language education
efforts after the immersion class
Cloutier is the tribe's public
relations manager. He has one future
goal in mind. "I want there to be a
requirement for fluency for
advancement out of the Academy which
is the sixth grade" he said.
Central Michigan University,
Michigan State University and the
University of Michigan currently
offer Anishinaabe language classes.
Autumm Ellie Mitchell, a Saginaw
tribal member and
MSU senior, wants to protect
her tribe's language. She says that
of today's 6,000 languages, only 100
will be spoken within a few
Hopkins encourages people to learn
and take pride in the Anishinaabe
language. "You have the values
that come with the language," she
said. "Never trade off for
something that is foreign. Your
legacy should be good enough."
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