June 23, 2011

Camp teaches all things Ojibwe

Language camp teaches more than words

By Jana PetersonThis weekend’s Nagaajiwanaang language camp in Sawyer promises more than Ojibwe vocabulary words and spelling lessons. The four-day camp itself will be a lesson in all things Ojibwe, from attitude to native crafts to cooking Indian corn soup with ashes, plus canoe races and other contests that teach skills valued by the traditional Ojibwe culture.

It’s the third year for the camp, which organizers say fills a need in the American Indian community in northern Minnesota and beyond.

“There is a thirst for the language,” said Pat Northrup of Sawyer, one of the driving forces behind the camp. “I hear people in the community more in the last few years–since Fond du Lac made Ojibwe the official reservation language–talking about ‘what’s the word for this,’ learning the language. We’re providing resources.”

In addition to having a total of seven fluent speakers of Ojibwe, the camp will have language books for sale for the first time. There will be designated locations where only Ojibwe is spoken, and other activities–like Arne Vainio’s Mad Science presentations–at which an Ojibwe speaker will translate the English spoken by the presenter.

No comments: