The Anishnaabemowin Project at Sagamok
Over the last three years, Learning Bird has collaborated with Sagamok Anishnawbek to develop digital resources for their Anishnaabemowin Project. Sagamok Anishnawbek created this project as part of the Nation’s commitment to language and culture revitalization. The Nation is helping community members reconnect with their language and culture. Ultimately, they want to see Anishnaabemowin spoken again by families. The Anishnaabemowin Project provides a way for learners to experience the language through the community’s lens and hear it spoken by local Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and fluent language speakers.
Sagamok Anishnawbek is building new language learning resources and learning opportunities for its community members. The Nation believes that it may become a race against time to preserve their language if they don’t increase the number of community-driven learning opportunities. They are losing Elders and fluent speakers every year. This video project provides a way for community members both near and far to participate in the learning. It supports a self-guided, self-paced learning model that works well for language instruction.
The Anishnaabemowin Project
The Anishnaabemowin Project features 75 videos that showcase the language as it applies to the community’s history, identity, land, and relationships. These videos include a mix of vocabulary lessons, conversations, songs, prayers, and interviews. The combination of video formats and styles supports the project’s goals of increasing language fluency, building speaking capacity, encouraging discussion, and preserving the local dialect.
Developing Video Resources
Learning Bird is proud to have been a part of this project. We worked with a local project coordinator at Sagamok Anishnawbek to design, develop, and produce the videos. We collaborated to select video topics and choose the words and sentences featured in each. From there, we worked with the community to arrange interviews with Elders and community members to gather the required audio and video footage.
The project coordinator worked with the local Elders, Knowledge Keepers, language speakers, and dedicated community members. They translated words and phrases from Anishnaabemowin to English and wrote out the subtitles for interviews and video conversations in Anishnaabemowin.
Our team then took all of the video elements and created cohesive sets of videos with specific goals: vocabulary instruction, storytelling, conversational interviews, and knowledge sharing. There are many different uses for the videos. As a long-term resource, they will help people of all ages and levels learn and experience Anishnaabemowin language and culture.
Accessing the Resources
The project is available on the Sagamok Anishnawbek Education website. Resources are divided in a few different ways for easy navigation. Learners can access the videos by language competency level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, and fluent speaker resources). They can view Elder interviews based on Medicine Wheel topics (spiritual, mental/intellectual, emotional, and physical/body).
The Anishnaabemowin Project resources and 25 additional videos we previously created with the Nation are on the Learning Bird Platform. You can access them as stand-alone videos or resource kits, groups of related videos and learning activities. These materials are also available to educators in the community, from daycare to adult education.
Funding for this project was partially provided under the Aboriginal Languages Initiative grant from Heritage Canada.
We are very proud to see this project launch. We are thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the preservation and revitalization of Anishnaabemowin. Congratulations to everyone involved. This is a very impressive project that we hope will positively impact the preservation and revitalization of Anishnaabemowin in your community and beyond.