Association of Native Americans
Turtle Mountain Community College Association of Native Americans Project is designed for Native Language Revitalization and Preservation.
On the Turtle Mountain reservation, there are two languages with their roots in indigenous languages—Ojibwa, is a traditional language of the Anishinabe people. Michif is a mixed language based on French, Cree and Ojibwa.
Statement of Need
Five years ago there were 31 fluent Ojibwa speakers and of these speakers, majority being between the ages of 56 to 70 years of age. Since then we have had 18 more speakers have been added to the list with another 40 identifying themselves as semi-fluent. Michif, was spoken by almost all adults 40 years and over. Today, the college has indentified 98 michif speakers. Of these, 82 are between the ages 56-70; and 16 are 36-55. There are no younger fluent speakers. Michif has moved from a commonly used language to one at risk with only about 1% of the reservation population speaking it and almost half of speakers being 70 years of age.
There is a critical need to document, preserve and transmit the languages of the Turtle Mountains before they are lost. Language is like the air within, around, and among us. Kitchitwa Ondwewe Nooding? Sacred Voices in the Air, reflects this. There is a sense of urgency in knowing that the voices of the languages are being stilled by death. With each passing year, the presence of the voices in the winds fades. It must be recaptured before it becomes an indistinct murmur.
It is our goal to support revitalization of the languages through a comprehensive effort to include documentation of the oral language and curriculum development per speaker each year.
The Turtle Mountain Community College is accredited through The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).