Indigenous Language Symposium

Initiative to Revitalize Ojibwe, Dakota, and Other Languages

UMD alumna and Symposium Speaker, Dawn LaPrairie, at the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School. Photo: Brett Groehler

Gekinoo’imaagejig, in partnership with Eni-gikendaasoyang, is hosting the Minnesota Indigenous Language Symposium, which will focus on international language revitalization initiatives. Gekinoo’imaagejig is UMD's American Indian Teacher Training program. Eni-gikendaasoyang is UMD's Center for Indigenous Knowledge Revitalization. Through networking and sharing of information the symposium hopes to build support between and among programs committed to language revitalization. Featured presentations from key language revitalization programs, immersion programs, and higher education programs will be the symposium’s focus.

Native language loss and decline is rooted in a historic legacy which included the systematic suppression of language, cultural and spiritual practices. Today, Minnesota’s Native languages are being spoken fluently by a declining number of our community elders. Immediate steps and innovative approaches are necessary so that the younger generations in Minnesota’s Indigenous communities will come to use and enjoy their heritage language. The worldview of a people is rooted in language.

The title of the Minnesota Indigenous Language Symposium in the Ojibwe language is Anishinaabemodaa ji-gikenindizoyang. It means "Let's speak our [Indigenous] language so we may know ourselves." The title of the symposium in the Dakota language is Dakotia wounhdakpi kte heced sdodunkic'iyapi kte ye/do, which means "We will speak Dakota so that we will know ourselves."

Tribal leaders, community organizations, schools and others interested in language revitalization are encouraged and invited to attend. The symposium will be held May 17 and 18 in the UMD Kirby Ballroom.

Accommodations at the Edgewater Water Park, for more information please see out website:, or contact: Jennifer Niemi, Eni-gikendaasoyang, University of Minnesota. Phone: 218-726-8419. Email:

— Cheryl Reitan

UMD Homepage 2007

UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830


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