Ojibwe Language Program | Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe


Official seal of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.In 1994, only 10 percent of the members of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe were fluent in the Band’s native language, and the youngest native speaker was 37. Faced with these statistics, tribal leaders had great cause for concern—declining language use was a disturbing indicator of the loss of tribal traditions. The Band’s Chief Executive summarized her colleagues’ sentiment: “Our families were not engaging in our traditions, our children were turning away from our values, and little by little we were losing the battle to protect the uniqueness of our culture.” If allowed to continue, the effects of this change would be broad sweeping. For example, because Band members had long considered knowledge of Ojibwe traditions a prerequisite to leadership, few in the succeeding generations would be prepared to step into leadership roles. 

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Last updated on 03/03/2022