August 2012 Archives

First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language

August 5, 2012

In honor and memory of Mr. Ronald White, of St. Paul, MN, I set out this evening to find a documentary on the Ojibwe people and/or language. His story, as a part of that people, is not mine to tell (in so far as I know some miniscule part). So I will share this documentary. It does not sugar coat the past, but neither does it dwell on it. It dwells on the present and the future of the native language and culture of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other areas around the Great Lakes.

Two of many items that grabbed my attention and reflection: (1) opening comments noting how many people are concerned with the loss of habitat, but are not also concerned or knowledgeable about the loss of cultures. (2) "You don't have to say 'respect your elders' in Ojibwe - its built right in" -- "elderly man" is "great being," and "elderly woman" is "she who holds together". Words for the sun and grandfather are the same, as are grandmother and the moon. You could ask "is the moon up?" and mean "is grandmother stirring?"

Watch First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language on PBS. See more from KTCA.

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