Who We Are

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 its academic lexicon, curriculum, 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 and contribute 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 with their national language gives them the key to unlocking 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.


In an educational landscape that rarely reflects the presence of American Indian teachers, scholars, and educational leaders, Waadookodaading is a shining example of transformative education in practice. All of the lead classroom teachers at Waadookodaading have earned or are in the process of earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, and all administrative staff have earned Master’s degrees in Education or related fields. The entire staff (100%) of the school are enrolled members or descendants of Ojibwe tribal nations in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Waadookodaading has inspired the community to aspire to educational achievement. Ojibwe students are currently enrolled in teacher training programs with the explicit goal of becoming certified teachers fluent in the Ojibwe language so they can return to Lac Courte Oreilles to teach at Waadookodaading. Parents and consultants are currently working on their terminal degrees in linguistics and education with a focus on Ojibwe language immersion as a means of supporting Waadookodaading. Parents who previously moved off reservation to pursue careers, education, and a livelihood, and even those from other reservations and urban areas, have moved back to the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation so they can send their children to Waadookodaading. They bring their experience, education, and purchasing power back to the area, positively impacting the social and financial economy of our region.

In addition, skilled first language Ojibwe speakers who were once physically and emotionally abused by school teachers have found their way back to the classrooms to create stories and curriculum and develop teacher vocabulary. Our young adults see that speaking Ojibwe is an asset, and can be the foundation of a career in which a person can earn money and engage in a meaningful profession in our beautiful Wisconsin homeland. Ojibwe language medium education is education reform that an historically educationally disenfranchised people are willing to support, and even devote their lives toward, advancing.