July 12, 2010

Ojibwe high-school classes

Teaching Ojibwe language beneficial to Duluth students

Ojibwe language, like all Native languages, has as its foundation the truths, values and spiritual ways of our people.

By Linda LeGarde Grover
I was one of many students who took Spanish from Senorita Rich during her years teaching at Denfeld. We learned to read and write a little Spanish, as well as speak. We listened to Rich’s always-interesting stories about her trips to Spanish-speaking countries, and she told us what she observed and tried of their customs and cultures. We made up Spanish dialogues about going to school, shopping, and visiting relatives. We sang popular songs that Rich loved, and we tasted her homemade banana bread. And we retained a surprising amount of Spanish language.

Just as we did, today’s students in Duluth public schools have the opportunity to take a variety of elective courses that enrich and expand their educational experience. Several years ago, Ojibwemowin, the language of the Native people of this part of North America, was added to the curriculum. This coming fall, Ojibwe Language, Culture and History I and II will be offered at the high school level. An introductory language immersion experience will be available at the Ojibwe Language Nest kindergarten, which is a cooperative effort between Duluth Public Schools and UMD.

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