Honouring the Ojibwa language

When Natalie Owl (PhD candidate) was a girl living on the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation on the northern Ontario shores of Lake Huron, her parents – survivors of the Indian residential school and the day school systems – chose to raise their three daughters and son in a traditional Ojibwa life.

“We led healthy lives, picking berries, hunting moose, fishing, and working the trapline without electricity or running water,” the University of Regina PhD candidate (ABD) recalls. “My parents were strict – no drinking, drugs, or cigarettes. My father didn’t talk much about his time in residential school, and I think that he has yet to come to terms with that experience. My mom went to a day school, and as a result, she was able to retain more of the language because she spoke it at home every night. My mom has helped us keep our language alive.”

Excerpt from Discourse Magazine Autumn 2019/Winter 2020

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