Waadookodaading, The Place Where We Help Each Other, utilizes the gift of the Ojibwe language as a means through which students and the community can achieve the ultimate goal of Indigenous survival and tribal sovereignty through realization of personal, family, cultural, spiritual, environmental, and educational goals.
The Institute began as the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School whose mission is to create proficient speakers of the Ojibwe language who are able to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world.
Although its current primary focus is K-12 education, it has evolved as a regional institution for Ojibwe language revitalization by creating immersion teachers and providing technical assistance to other language and immersion school programs in development throughout the nation.
The school freely shares academic lexicon, curriculum, and translated books and expertise with other emerging indigenous language schools.
Waadookodaading embodies a positive and productive intergovernmental arrangement that has empowered parents and local Ojibwe community members to take symbolic and practical ownership of the school as well as contributing to the larger movement towards indigenous language preservation.
The school demonstrates an exemplary model of true educational sovereignty in that our younger generation can meet academic standards while attaining proficiency through Ojibwe language immersion. Language is the space where culture lives. Providing our students their national language gives them the key that unlocks another layer of historical context, understanding of social connections and political structures, and the spatial relationships of their nation.
In the past 20 years, Waadookodaading has experienced tremendous organizational growth. From a one-room language program in 2000, to a multi-million-dollar organization providing native employment opportunities, language immersion teacher training, and research-based educational methods, we resist internal and external pressures to conform to westernized, English-only educational and cultural standards. Our space is our biggest challenge. It is inadequate for projected growth and demand, nor does it allow for a culturally healthy and responsive learning environment.
Ge-niinawind sa omaa Waadookodaading – endazhi-wiidookodaadiyaang niwii-naadamawaanaanig ningikinoo’amaaganinaanig da-nitaa-ojibwemotaadiwaad ge-mino-bimaadiziwaad. Mii omaa endazhi-maawanji’idiwaad da-ojibwemotaadiwaad, da-manaajitoowaad aki, miinawaa dash da-manaaji’idiwaad gakina bemaadizijig. Abinoojiinyag gikinoo’amaagoziwag odinwewiniwaa, odizhitwaawiniwaa, miinawaa gwayak ezhiwebak miziwekamig. Nimisawendaamin da-mamino-inendamowaad gikendaasowin da-gagwe-gwayakosidoowaad ezhiwebadinig omaa Akiing. Gakina gegoo gikinoo’amawaawag Ojibwemowin miinawaa izhitwaawin. Gakina gegoo nindizhichigemin ondinamang indizhitwaawininaan. Mii ezhi-dagosidooyaang ezhi-gikinoo’amawangidwaa agiw abinoojiinyag, ani-gikendaasowaad, ani-nitaawichigewaad, naa go gaye da-mino-giizhwewaad.
Linguists define a language which has no native speakers (people who grew up speaking the language as a child) as “dead” or “extinct.” A language that has no native speakers in the youngest generation is called “moribund.” A language that has very few native speakers is called “endangered” or “imperiled”.
A review of research literature on language loss and language revitalization quantifies the status of Ojibwe language at Lac Courte Oreilles. According to Dr. Joshua A. Fishman’s Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale for Threatened Languages, Ojibwe language at Lac Courte Oreilles falls between Stages 7 and 8. An endangered language can be revitalized through extensive well-defined efforts.
The Ojibwe language at Lac Courte Oreilles is in a revitalization stage. Less than a handful of first language elders are left. But there is a window of opportunity with the Waadookodaading Language Immersion School that provides language instruction to young children ages 5-11, a prime stage level of learning languages. However, the challenges are many and include funding, development of curriculum, employment/retention of certified Native teachers with the requisite language abilities, and lack of classroom space.
Waadookodaading was founded in 2000 by a group of elders, language activists, and community memners who shared a concern about the loss of Ojibwemowin at Lac Courte Oreilles.
We take part in a variety of events for students, parents, community members, and other entities to connect and celebrate our traditions and mission.
We are always looking to add talented, qualified, and inspiried individuals to our team.
We would love to hear from you!