Northern Ontario Anishinaabe Elder: Breathing Language Back to Life One Speaker at a Time


There are some things that can never be recovered once they are lost or ripped away from us. Barbara Nolan is doing all that she can to preserve her beloved ancestral tongue. This spunky 68 year old Elder is a vibrant speaker of her first language- Anishinaabemowin, and she is deeply compelled to create speakers of the language.

Like so many of her People and generation, Barbara is a residential school survivor. When she was five years old and her sister was six, Barbara’s parents packed the little girls into the car and headed to Spanish, Ontario where the nearest residential school was located.
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