Aaniin! As a Nishnaabe who grew up separate from my nation, I’ve come to understand the importance of community. We have so much that we can learn from one another—having these connections with one another allows us to support each other. There is something special that comes from raising one another up that is empowering. I try to do the best that I can to learn more about my Indigeneity, but I can only go so far on my own. We need each other.
I think that it is very easy to feel lost, especially while in school and trying to find a balance between our work and social lives. I feel as though we place such great expectations upon ourselves to do well and be successful but navigating these hurdles can be not only challenging, but also feel isolating if things don’t exactly go according to plan. I’m so thankful for the support system that I have found within my community, and without them I don’t know where I would be. I’ve been able to reconnect with my roots and understand not only what it means to be Anishinaabe—but what it means to be Indigenous in this current climate. Understanding who we are is connected to language, as not only is it something that we need to communicate but it encourages us to live and express the worldviews rooted in it.
Aan kaa tootaman noonkom kaa kiishikaak?
What did you do today?
This week I attended Ciimaan/Kahywe’yá/Qajaq’s Anishinaabemowin resource sharing event. I know very little of my language and the space allowed for a welcoming environment for individuals to gather and share with one another advice on how to pick up Anishinaabemowin. There has been an emergence of revitalization projects in the works, in an effort to keep the language alive after colonial policies threatened its extinction. Gathering together not only gives us hope but takes the pressure off those who may be too hard on themselves in the learning process. As a people whose roots are in oral tradition, language was meant to be taught orally and that is why having a community to learn together is special—it encourages us to foster our relationships with those around us. Simply teaching us how to introduce ourselves in our native tongue is empowering, and at the end of the day you do the best that you can even if it is finding small ways to incorporate it into everyday life.
In anticipation of Indigenous Education Week, spending time with those that had gathered to share language resources felt fitting. This year Indigenous Education Week will be focused on you guessed it…language! There is such power in speaking your own language, and I’m committed to doing the best that I can to do my part and speak Anishinaabemowin as often as I can.