Native Village
Youth and Education news
 APRIL 1, 2010 Volume 2

Tribe develops language immersion program
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 language efforts,

The 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 English.

The Saginaw Chippewa are planning more language education efforts after the immersion class ends. Frank 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 centuries.

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."

Video of Anishinaabe Language Revitalization Departments efforts

Awesiiwag (The Animal Song)
Listen to and sing this song in the Anishinaabe Language!

George Catlin, Ud-je-jock, Pelican, a Boy, 1831 Ojibwe/Chippewa

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