PAGE 15 MAZINA’IGAN SUMMER 2017 • OJIBWEMOWIN • The Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute hosted theinauguralGaa-Onwaa’injigLanguageImmersionConference in Lac Courte Oreilles on May 4-6. The conference was designed to address four areas vital to the planning and maintenance of language revitalization efforts: K-12indigenousimmersion,communitylanguagerevitalization, adult indigenous language immersion, and policy and admin- istration. Pre-conference classroom visits kicked off the event, with guests invited to observe 4K-5th grade classrooms at Waadoo- kodaading. Visits gave participants an opportunity to observe activities and methods used to maintain an Ojibwe environment within the classroom. Students at Waadookodaading spend 60-100% of their day immersed in the Ojibwe language. Down the road at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, participants were treated to keynote speeches from Bawdwaywidun Eddie Benton-Banai, Waabi-bizhikiikwe Patricia Ninegwance, and Waawaakeyaash Keller Paap over the course of the weekend. Benton-Banai is well-known as a strong advocate for culture-based education and as presiding Grand Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge. Ninegwance is known for her 30 years of experience in language teaching, and for author- ing language books Survival Ojibwe and Anishinaabemodaa: Becoming a Successful Ojibwe Eavesdropper. Paap, one of the founding members of Waadookodaading, is widely regarded as “the Godfather of Ojibwe Immersion” by many of his colleagues and contemporaries. Tucked in between the motivating words from each of these language leaders were sixteen different breakout sessions covering topics such as using the language to heal, child language acquisition, and building language capacity. Close to 200 people traveled from all over Ojibwe country to take part in the conference and make connections with one another. Manidoo Noodin Jason Schlender, Chairman of the Waadookodaading Board of Directors said to partici- pantsinhisopeningletterthathehopedthe“interactionwithcolleaguesfrommany different communities and personal fields leads to a creative exchange of ideas.” Close to 200 people attended Gaa-Onwaa’injig Language Immersion Conference on May 4-6 in Lac Courte Oreilles. The conference was organized on behalf of The Chippewa Federation by the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute with support from the St. Croix Band of Chippewa. Right: Bawdwaywidun Eddie Benton-Banai gave one of three keynote addresses during the conference, emphasizing to tribal educators and speakers that “education has to be on our own terms.” (Paula Maday photos) By Paula Maday, Staff Writer Waadookodaading, the place where we help each other, was founded in the early 2000s by a group of elders, language activists, and community members who shared a concern about the loss of Ojibwemowin at Lac Courte Oreilles. Their language revitalization efforts have been featured in the Midwest Regional Emmy Award winning documentary First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language. Watch it now at ojibwe-language. that the biggest challenges currently facing manoomin are socio-political, not ecological, and there is a great need to share the importance of manoomin with legislators, youth, and others. “We need to bring manoomin into the school systems. It should be in his- tory. It should be in social studies. It should be in biology. Because as we’ve seen from up here, it has many meanings to many people,” said Evelyn Ravindran, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. To address identified worries, the group engaged in conversations about traditional restoration practices for wild rice, as well as any challenges or gaps in knowledge that prevent these practices from being successful. To finish out the workshop, participants broke into groups to discuss priority restoration and pres- ervation needs, resources available, and opportunities for partnerships. Among the various discussions, education and outreach was a consensus.The availability of long-term funding was another common need identified. “I was reminded of how broad the interests are and how different the con- cerns are and how complex our restoration efforts will be,” Peter David, GLIFWC manoomin biologist and workshop participant said. Red Cliff Conservation Warden Mark Duffy agreed: “What I’ve taken away fromthisgatheringisthebiodiversityofpeoplethataregettingintoricing,”hesaid. Myron Burns, Sr., a Bad River tribal member who has been ricing for 60 years, reminded everyone that within new restoration and preservation efforts, there must be a place for traditional ecological knowledge. “When we first started ricing, we used to rice in wooden canoes and make our own paddles. We knew that the best time for ricing was early in the morning and late in the evening. I don’t understand the 10 o’clock rule,” Burns said, referring to Wisconsin’s current off-reservation harvest regulations that allow ricing from 10:00 am until sunset. With so many diverse interests expressed at the Manoomin Restoration Workshop, NOAA Administrator Heather Stirratt acknowledged that ongoing conversations and organization would need to take place. If you are interested in learning more about manoomin monitoring and res- toration, please check out the resources listed below. Manoomin Resources GLIFWC Wild Rice Ecology, Harvest, Management Brochure GLIFWC Off-Reservation Harvest Regulations, Rice Abundance Information and Map of Manoomin Waters “Wild Rice Monitoring Handbook & Field Guide” by Tonya Kjerland “Wild Rice & the Ojibway People” by Thomas Vennum, Jr. Manoomin under stress (Continued from page 5) GLIFWC manoomin biologist Peter David moderates a panel discussion on stressors affecting wild rice and the impacts on harvesting. Panel members included Evelyn Ravindran (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community), Barb Barton (Michigan Dept. of Transportation), Nancy Schuldt (Fond du Lac Band), and Darren Vogt (1854 Treaty Authority). (Paula Maday photo) Waadookodaading hosts inaugural Language Immersion Conference in Lac Courte Oreilles