Anishinaabemowin speakers develop resources, call for increased language learning opportunities for all

While nearly 30,000 people speak the Anishinaabe language across Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec today, there are very few teaching materials and resources available to help teach the next generation of speakers. Aya Dufour of CBC shares the stories of Anishinaabemowin speakers who have created curricula, developed online classes and software, and produced new teaching materials in order to pass the language on to the next generation. “I got to my office and there was nothing for me to use,” said Sandra Peltier of Wiikwemkoong First Nation, reflecting on when she began teaching the language in 1986. “I was overwhelmed by the number of things that needed to be done and created. But through that, I fell in love with teaching my language, and I developed a passion for it.” Today, Peltier has developed several teaching materials and resources, and works with elders and graphic designers to standardize the language curriculum for the schools in her community. For the language to have a real future, Peltier explained, schools will need to offer immersion programs in schools. Jed Meltzer, a senior scientist at the Baycrest Geriatric Care Centre in Toronto, also noted that the language tends to be spoken by grandparents and their grandchildren, with the parents – the generation in-between – left out. “For a language to thrive, it needs to be spoken by the family,” he said.