Michigan teacher works to preserve indigenous language

Dec 4, 2014

Helen Roy is a tribal member of the Wikwemikong First Nations Band, Canada’s only unceded Indian Reservation on Manitoulin Island in Ontario.
Credit http://aisp.msu.edu/

Movements to revitalize Native American languages have been popping up across the U.S. in recent years. Tribes from Massachusetts to California are using federal funds to help preserve their native tongues. The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma has developed Cherokee language versions of Google, Wikipedia, and even Facebook.

Lansing State Journal reporter Kathleen Lavey recently profiled the efforts of one Michigan tribe to revitalize the Anishinaabe language by teaching it to its youngest members.

Pre-schoolers from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe in Mt. Pleasant can attend a language immersion program where everything they hear, read, and write is in their native tongue, but the work to revive the language isn’t limited to the Isabella Indian Reservation. It’s happening all over the state.

Current State talks about the revitalization of Native languages in Michigan with Helen Roy. She is a member of the Odawa tribe and has taught Anishinaabemowin to students across the state, including here at MSU.