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Traditional knowledge and technologies of orality for community-based Anishinaabemowin revitalization in northern Ontario

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Title: Traditional knowledge and technologies of orality for community-based Anishinaabemowin revitalization in northern Ontario
Authors: Chacaby, Maya
Issue Date: 14 Mar 2009
Description: Waaciye, Maya nitishinikaas, Kaministiqua nitoonci, Amik Dodem. Aasha ni-kakwe-nitaa Anishinaabem. Miikwec Kishe-Manito o-we-ki-minobimaatiziyan wiicishin. Aasha ni-ninanatawentan anishnaabemowin toonci ni-kanohkentaan kaa onciiyaan Miikwec* . It is my belief that Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) traditional knowledge practices are critical to the retention of new language learners and ultimately to the future direction of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) revitalization. However, the forced displacement of Anishinaabe peoples from their traditional territories and the contemporary context in which this is reenacted has created a “cultural void” where oral practices, storytelling, and experiential-social learning are often secondary to western pedagogical structures. My research focuses on developing ways that Anishinaabe traditional knowledge practices for language transmission can work in contemporary institutional contexts. Rather than simply providing students with a short repertoire of basic words, this work focuses on creating an environment that will allow students to become part of a long-term language-learning community, which fosters fluency through an Anishinaabe framework. I have been working with northern First Nations communities, community members, and community organizations to create viable options for prioritizing methods of language transmission that emphasize the spiritual, physical, emotional and mental aspects of our identities and promote foundational Anishinaabe knowledge in language transmission. In a contemporary context, some of theses options include the development of video conferencing networks and video documentaries that can enhance oral teaching practices and create accessible story archives in the language. As well, the work has involved creating a sustainable language learning community locally at the University of Toronto and by internet-based communications across northern Ontario, through social activities, theatre projects and community participation. The goal is to stretch Anishinaabemowin interactions beyond classroom boundaries and to create greater opportunities to retain new learners and allow for more experiential, traditional learning. My vision is that, when combined, the Anishinaabe methods for transmitting the language (via traditional knowledge practices and philosophies) and technologies that promote oral language transmission could become a powerful tool for recreating healthy, vibrant Anishinaabe communities. *As Anishinaabe (Ojibwe person), I have been taught to introduce myself and state my intentions first in my language; this, according to the Elders I have learned from, is the way that my intentions are heard not just by you, but by the spirits of my ancestors and by creation. In this way, I am held responsible to my intentions on a level much deeper than words on paper.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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