Ojibwe Language Table Begins At South

Ellen Gantenbein, Staff Writer

Each Monday after school the Ojibwe Language Table holds a meeting with Indian Education Linguist James Vukelich. The group facilitates community learning as it is open to South students and staff as well as outside community members.

This idea was not completely new, it had previously been an option at Anishinabe Academy, a Minneapolis public school, for younger students. This is the first year it has been available at South.

All Nations counselor Jackie Vertigan described the purpose of the group as a way to keep indigenous languages from dying out as a result of the boarding school era where indigenous people were stripped of their culture and punished for speaking their language. She went on to talk about the importance of making school a place where all students feel understood, because statistically when students feel accepted in their community, their overall performance is better.

All Nations Senior Chris Snetsinger  talked about the importance of preserving Ojibwe culture stating, “[learning ojibwe] helps [us] understand what we lost during the boarding schools era.” Senior Alex Barney echoed this sentiment saying, “it was a way for me to get in touch with my heritage”

As the group is still new, the turnout has been anywhere from 3 to 8 students per meeting. The group hopes to be able to add Dakota and Lakota languages next year.