Treaty 2 Territory- The Anishinaabemowin language is known by many names, some of which refer to a specific dialect: Ojibway, Ojibwa, Ojibway, Ojibwemowin, Chippewa and Saulteaux. It is a language that is part of the Algonquian language family, generally spanning from Manitoba to Québec, with a strong concentration around the Great Lakes. Elders share that the term Anishinaabemowin acknowledges the creation story of the Ojibwe people: “Anishinaabe” means “the spirit that is lowered down from above,” “-mo” refers to expression through speech and “-win” refers to the life energy within, used to do so. Linguists also explain that “-win” is a nominalizer that turns the verb Anishinaabemo (“he/she is speaking the Anishinaabe language”) into a noun. According to the 2016 Census, 28,130 people are listed as speaking Anishinaabemowin. Anishinaabeg is the plural form of Anishinaabe and consequently, refers to many Anishinaabe people.
Speaking the Language
Traditional knowledge holders share that the language was originally created by Nanaboozhoo (sometimes spelled Nanabozo, also called Waynaboozhoo and Nanabush) after Gizhe Manidoo gave him life, lowered him to the Earth, and gave him the responsibility to name everything in existence. By means of Nanaboozhoo’s task, Anishinaabemowin was born and spoken into existence.
Elders often speak about the importance of Anishinaabemowin to Anishinaabe culture and society. In addition to routine communication, the language is essential in the officiating of Ojibwe ceremonies and the repatriation of sacred items as well as in providing a unique way of understanding the world. The survival of Anishinaabemowin is directly related to the survival of Anishinaabe identity and culture.
Cultural protocols and understandings are built into Anishinaabemowin communication. For instance, the word boozhoo (“hello”) not only acknowledges the original spirit of Nanaboozhoo and guides relationships based upon respect but also conveys the process of using the breath of life (“boo”) to express the feeling of life (“zhoo”). Aaniin, which can be used as a greeting, conveys acknowledging the light within another person that is the same light within oneself.
LANGUAGE APPS- FREE DOWNLOADS TO PHONE
- 24 categories of Phrases: Conversations, Vocabulary, Verb Tenses, etc.
- Audio includes songs
- Video includes feather and hand drum teachings
- Images with text includes the alphabet, medicines, smudge, etc.
- This Anishinaabemowin Language App contains over 500+ phrases/words recorded audio files
Other Phone Apps
- OJIBWAY (BASIC)
- AANISHINABE LEARNING (WABAUSHKANG FN SCHOOL)
- SANDY BAY OJIBWAY
- ANISHINAABEMOWIN CONVERSATION
- KOBE OJIBWAY
- NEECHEE (PHRASES ONLY, NO AUDIO)
Online Videos: http://www.wakingupojibwe.ca
Note: Anishinaabemowin speakers generally introduce themselves to someone new using a specific protocol. Following a greeting, the speaker mentions their spirit name in the Anishinaabe language. They also acknowledge their home or territory, as well as acknowledging their clan. This is a spiritual identification, but it also helps others to understand differences in protocol that a person may have learned over the years.
Submitted by: Renée McGurry, Earth Lodge Development Helper
Last modified: October 20, 2021