July 25, 2011

Ojibwe signage spreads in Bemidji

Bemidji's Ojibwe Language Project Seeks to Make Effort Irreversible

Permanent Signage Posted by Sanford Health, Schools, OthersMany businesses and organization are trying new things with Ojibwe words demonstrating permanence, creativity, and fun. Beaver Books and others are using portable street ad signs to get their message across. Business owner Brian Larson had his business name translated into Ojibwe Mezinibii'igaadegin Wenizhishingin (Amity Graphics).

Noemi Aylesworth of the Cabin Coffeehouse, (the first business to post Ojibwe/English signage) has headings on menus written in Ojibwe, such as Dekaagamingin (Cold Drinks), Gitigaanensan (Salads), Gigizhebaa-wiisining (Breakfast), and more.

The Sanford Center has "Permanent" Ojibwe/English bi-lingual signage. All doors coming and going at the Sanford Center says Boozhoo (Hello) and Miigwech (Thank you) respectively. There are twelve pairs of restrooms in Sanford Center, each posted with permanent signage with Men/Ininiwag or Women/Ikwewag. And the parking lot has animal images with names in both languages to help you find your car.

Last but not least, Bemidji State University continues to be a leader in this effort by posting first class permanent Ojibwe/English signage throughout both campuses. Bemidji State Park, Itasca State Park, MN DOT, and the DNR are also participating along with over 130 other businesses and organizations.

"One of our concerns when soliciting businesses and organizations to post bi-lingual signage, was permanence," noted Meuers. "We wanted plastic, vinyl, or metal; we are hoping paper signs are only temporary. We are so excited, with Sanford Health, the schools, BSU, and others demonstrating leadership in posting permanent signage...and more. With efforts like this and the new creativity being shown, Bemidji will surely soon be known for its Ojibwe/English signage."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Bemidji Businesses Post Ojibwe Signs.

Below:  "Principal Drew Hildenbrand points out a sign that says, "Greetings, welcome to Bemidji Middle School."

July 24, 2011

"Cherokee Language Through Art"


A visual narrative of the Cherokee language opens at Museum Center at Five Points on Saturday

By Ann Nichols
Beginning Saturday, visitors to the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland can see a stunning exhibit of works created by 93 Cherokee artists. Different parts of the Cherokee culture are represented in "Generations: Cherokee Language Through Art." Ages of participants range from 3 to 91 years old, and the 85 pieces in the show display a wide range of media, styles and approaches.

The artworks were created by artists from the Cherokee Nation (Oklahoma), United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (Oklahoma) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina). Participants are practicing artists from all three Cherokee tribes, Cherokee Nation Immersion School language students and Cherokee families.
And:Traditional materials used by Cherokee artists (river cane, gourds, wood, quilting, clay, basketry) contrast with contemporary items in the creation of the works in the show. For example, K.A. Gilliland, Andrew Sikora and their two children, Skyla and Sean, collaborated on a sculpture that incorporates a small television that is operated by remote control.

In addition to the artworks on display, there will be a section of the exhibit where a DVD will help visitors learn the correct phonetic pronunciation of each character in the Cherokee syllabary.

July 17, 2011

"Way of Life" summer camp

Land of 10,000 Stories:  Reviving the dying Dakota language

By Boyd Huppert"I see this as we're trying to rebuild that tiwahe and tiospaye, that family and that extended family component," said Teresa Peterson, the executive director of the project known as Dakota Wicohan--meaning "Way of Life."

"So what you're seeing is that reclaiming of kinship, in the way that we treat each other. That's the way of life," explained Peterson.

Dakota Wicohan recieves its funding primarily through state and federal grants, including monetary contributions from the Minnesota Legacy Amendment administered through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Gianna Strong is among those learning the language through the summer day camp. "I can eventually pass it down to my children," she said. "I think it's a big responsibility."

Mi'kmaq spreads to more PEI schools

Mi'kmaq language to be taught in 2 more P.E.I. schoolsSome Aboriginal students on P.E.I. will soon be able to study the Mi'kmaq language and culture in public schools.

The Island First Nations community will get an opportunity to help promote a language that is almost disappearing on the island.

The children are taking advantage of their summer camp to improve their knowledge of the Mi'kmaq language.

Up until now, students at John J. Sark Memorial School on Lennox Island were the only P.E.I. students to get Mi'kmaq language training—which ends at Grade 6.

But in September, two other schools will start offering courses.

July 02, 2011


LiveAndTell, A Crowdsourced Quest To Save Native American Languages

By Paul GladerIn an attempt to preserve endangered indigenous dialects such as Lakota and Ho Chunk, South Dakota-based programmer Biagio Arobba has built LiveAndTell, a user-generated content site for sharing and learning Native languages. It can work for any language, but his passion is to preserve the endangered tongues you won't find in textbooks, language programs, or widely taught in classrooms. "For Native American languages, there's a scarcity of learning materials,” Arobba says. “Native American languages are in a crisis and we have not moved very far beyond paper and pencil methods.”

Arobba, 32, is a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe. He built LiveAndTell as an efficient, easy-to-use way to pass the Lakota Sioux language (and others) from older generations to younger ones. An accompanying Facebook page is intended to introduce the languages to a broader audience.

LiveAndTell lets users create "audio tags" for pictures, similar to tagging on Facebook or Flickr. An audio recorder allows a Lakota speaker to record a message with each picture. They can also post a series of audio or text below each picture. In essence, it’s Flickr meets Rosetta Stone. The pictures and album can be embedded into other web sites as well. LiveAndTell has no upfront participation fees; users can sign in and start creating content immediately.

As LiveAndTell expands, Arobba is working with area tribes to integrate the web site into tribal sites, and is running workshops so Lakota speakers can learn how to input photos, audio, and text. He's planning mobile versions for the iPhone and Android platforms. He's also collaborating with Oglala Lakota College and others to apply for National Science Foundation funding.

July 01, 2011

We Are Family in Cherokee

Sisters Cree and Cheyenne Drowningbear (Cherokee), of Tahlequah, Oklahoma performed “We Are Family” in Cherokee at the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair held recently at the Sam Noble Museum.