Anishinaabemowin-Teg Language Conference

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The 22nd Annual Anishinaabemowin-Teg language conference is taking place at the Quattro Convention Centre. The 2016 Conference Theme is “Anishinaabe Manidoowaadiziwin: The Anishinaabe Spiritual Way.”

‘Anishinaabemowin Teg is a non profit charitable corporation dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Anishinaabemowin (Language) of the Anishinaabe (people) of the Great Lakes region.

20160331_100913In 1994, a group of Anishinaabe language speakers gathered to develop an organization through a conference.  The first conference was in 1995 in which the first board came together to develop the organization’s mandate.  They developed policies and by-laws which formed the foundations of Anishinaabemowin Teg.  The organization was incorporated October 24, 1995.

20160401_141457The first gathering was held in Sault Ste. Marie, historically known as the gathering place for the Three Fires Confederacy, the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potowatomi of the Great Lakes region.’ www.anishinaabemowin-teg.org

The 2016 Conference has strong registration numbers, with over 800 people of all ages, from first nation communities throughout the Great Lakes regions in attendance. First Nation Artisan Vendors are displayed in The Ballroom, and hallways leading into and out of meeting spaces. The main lobby (and beyond) of The Quattro is a feast for the eyes.   With a focus on language, much of the conference is shared in traditional languages of the Anishinaabe peoples. Resources and reading material, listening material, technology, organizations, with foundation in first nation language, education, culture and society are part of the multitude of things attendees can explore. The book store that lines the south wall of the Ballroom, is outstanding.

20160331_115731Allan Corbiere, historian and Board member of ‘Anishinaabemowin Teg spoke during the opening morning’s panel of elders. Moving fluently between anishinaabe and english languages, Corbiere said “Our speakers, elders, are invited here. We need to hear from our elders who speak the language. We need to listen to their traditional teachings. A lot of our young people are learning to speak in english only. Throughout the conference, you will have opportunities to hear teachings in our language. We still have a lot of speakers. Masters of our language.”

‘As a tribute to the Spiritual Ways Anishinaabemowin-Teg is featuring four individuals to speak on the things we take for granted daily. As Anishinaabeg, we must continue to learn the dynamics of the powers of the unknown.’

Among those masters of  language, sharing teachings during the opening morning’s gathering, were Josephine Mandamin, Sacred Water Walker: Nibi – Water; Eddie Benton – Benai: Shkode – Fire; Gordon Waindubence: Aki-Earth; Marlene Stately:  Noodin-Wind.

A sacred fire was lit and continues to burn in the front gardens of the Quattro Convention Centre for the duration of the conference. The Anishinaabemowin-Teg language conference continues to Sunday, April 3, 2016.

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Lynne Brown
Algoma writer and reporter. Has written for special editions Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal. In the 80’s, Lynne worked for AutoTrader Magazine in rural Southwestern Ont. Trudging through farmers’ fields for a picture of a 56 Dodge Custom Royale was considered a very good day. Special interests include issues relating to rural life, seniors, travel, history, community development and indigenous peoples. email to lynne@superiormedia.ca Twitter: @dlynnebrown.