Residents, guests learn Oji-Cree during Language Circle
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Over 50 Sioux Lookout residents and visitors had the opportunity to experience and learn a different language during an Anihshiniimowin (Oji-Cree) language circle and feast on Nov. 29 at the Sioux Lookout Access Centre.
The evening started with a feast that featured moose stew, venison stew, wild rice, beat salad and bannock. Following the feast, Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre (KERC) immersion specialist Ballena Anderson led the Language Circle and taught Anihshiniimowin to the group with discussions and learning exercises. Anderson conducts language and cultural workshops and also trains community-based immersion and Native language teachers.
Joan Cosco, Administrative Assistant at Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, said the idea for a language circle had been in the works for a little while, and it came together thanks to local adult education partnerships.
“We’ve talked about it for about six months to a year. The goal is to partner with other organizations to deliver education to the whole area and meet the needs of everyone. We (Keewatin-Patricia District School Board) are presently partnered with Seven Generations and now with KERC (Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre),” said Cosco.
“As part of our work, we did a regional scan for adult education last year…They do language circles in Fort Frances, so we wanted to do one here. Once we started talking about it, people seemed really excited so we thought we’d have a good turnout. We’re really pleased with the turnout,” she continued.
For those who missed out on the language circle, there will be eight more opportunities to experience and learn Anihshiniimowin. Cosco shared that they plan to offer one a month with a feast as well. They even have goals to expand and have a joint language circle, via Skype, with one in the north as well.
“We have the vision, for one of our language circles, to have two simultaneously going with one in the north and one here. We could even Skype in so that there’s a joining of the different communities,” she concluded.
The next language circle will be on Dec. 18, with more dates to follow, at the Sioux Lookout Access Centre across from Giant Tiger. Adults are required to register at the event, but families are encouraged to bring their kids and have them learn as well. Food will be provided at each event.