C I LEARN Project “Bimadji Aawasowin”
Children’s Indigenous Language Education, Activity, Resources and Nurturing Project
A Joint Project Between: Mishko Bimaadziwin Family Support Services, ICA Canada and Save the Children Canada
Vision for the Project
For those who have grown up speaking their mother tongue, it is impossible to understand how devastating it would be to have had that mother tongue stripped away as a young child. However, this is exactly the legacy of the Federal Government’s Indian Residential Schools policies, which systematically robbed a generation of Aboriginal children across this country not only of their language, but also the security of their family, community life, spiritual roots, identity, and culture. Today, the devastating impact is evident in a myriad of ways. As time passes and the numbers of fluent speakers dwindle, it becomes increasing critical to take action now with regard to language loss.
Our vision for this project is to contribute to the reclamation of identity and culture by rebuilding the use of languages through working with young Aboriginal children. We believe that through focusing on the child, this project can reach whole families and communities, assisting them not only with relearning those languages in danger of being lost forever, but also helping each person rediscover who they are in relation to themselves, their families, their communities, their culture, and to Creation itself. We will focus on First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and their families, partnering collaboratively, and honouring established Aboriginal protocols and the principals of OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) – a methodology that directs First Nations processes over all First Nations data.
In the words of Ojibway Elder and Residential School Survivor - Freda McDonald - “When you take away a child’s language, you take away their identity. We need to give them back their identity.” That is our vision for this project.
Mishko Bimaadziwin continues to work to revitalize the Ojibwe language in Northwestern Ontario. Please watch here for Ojibwe language class information.