Ojibwe Language and Collaboration on Forest Walks: Considerations for Indigenous Language and Knowledge Development
Monday, February 8, 2021
Noon–1 p.m. (Central Time)
Indigenous language reclamation efforts are pushing academic ideas of what language isto be accountable to Indigenous epistemologies. As Indigenous immersion school efforts aim to grow more young speakers, it is important to understand how these speakers engage their linguistic, cultural, and land-based knowledge and relationships in intergenerational engagements on and with land. In this project, we examine episodes from three forest walks, taken from a broader corpus of walks (14), to describe how one Elder walking with groups of two children constructed knowledge and joint meaning-making in the Ojibwe language while walking on Ojibwe lands. Working from a framework that an Indigenous epistemology is embodied in these cultural ecologies, we explore how seeing humans as a part of the natural world, at play on the walks, facilitates language and other knowledge development. The project points to implications for designing learning and teaching of Indigenous language that is not limited to language-as-code or communicative tool, but that goes hand in hand with holistic concepts of Indigenous ways of being and knowing.
Presenters: James McKenzie is a Diné Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona focused on Indigenous language and culture maintenance and revitalization, Indigenous immersion education, and Indigenous culture-based education. He has worked in academic and community settings in his homelands to contribute to and organize efforts for Diné language and culture maintenance and revitalization. James is a graduate of the MA in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota.
Mary "Fong" Hermes is Professor of Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota. She has worked as indigenous community member, decolonizing the university for 25 years.