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The Power of Story in Ojibwe Language and Culture: Michael Migizi Sullivan

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Michael Migizi Sullivan to visit Long Lake Conservation Center

It was never a language of communication for the kids. It was always between the elders…They started an effort to teach us as children in the schools through classes and such, but it was mostly just learning vocabulary and names for things and not really communicating… they tried their best, but it was a really new thing to teach a minority Indigenous language in a school setting when the school was the space the language was purposefully kept out of for years. So it's been a challenge… We're fortunate enough in some of our communities here to have children who are learning our language and learning it in a different way than we did…We’ve kind of turned a corner in that regard where we're creating speakers in these newer generations, which is super exciting… Not every tribe can say that.... – Dr. Michael Migizi Sullivan

Michael Migizi Sullivan is a professor of Ojibwe Language and Culture at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College near Hayward, WI. His professorial work as well as collaborations with the Rosetta Stone Ojibwe Language program and a recent children’s book series aim to revive the Ojibwe language and cultivate deeper cultural understanding and connections.

He’ll be the guest of honor tomorrow night at the Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade when he hosts a story-telling event in which he’ll share traditional legends in both Ojibwemowin and English. The event begins at 6:30pm.

He joined the morning show discussing his quest to learn and share his culture. The Long Lake Conservation Center event Saturday will be both in person and via Zoom. Connect with Long Lake Conservation Center for more information.

They say if we pay attention, we listen to these stories, we receive blessings. We can receive gifts and teachings through that…It takes a whole lifetime to truly understand one of these stories, to truly get all the messages and all the sort of morals and the reasons the stories are told. They cause you to kind of reflect on yourself and what you do in your own life. - Dr. Michael Migizi Sullivan

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.