Ojibwe Language Immersion Camp fun for the whole family


language camp flute making.jpgThe 3rd Annual Nagaajiwanaang Ambe, Ojibwemodaa Immersion Camp was held June 23 – June 26 at the Kiwenz Campground in Sawyer, MN. Over 500 people participated in the free, four-day language and cultural immersion camp.

Native people fluent in Ojibwemodaa (Ojibwe) volunteered their time and skills for the 4 day langauge camp. Fluent speakers included: Gordon "Gordy" Jourdain, Rick Gresczyk, Helen Roy, Howard Kimewon, Alphonse Pitawanakwat, Margaret Noori, and Sonny Greensky. They  led some of the traditional activities, teaching in Ojibwemowin  throughout the events.

language camp jim and pat northrup.jpgAlso donating their time and talents were Ojibwe artisans who taught people traditional arts, crafts and tool making. They included Jim Northrup (Birch bark baskets), Randy Gresczyk (drum stick making), Frank Montano (traditional flutes), Charlie "Tuna" Nahgahnub (Ricing poles and knockers), Myna and Theodore Toulouse (quill work on birch bark), Sarah Agaton Howes (moccasins), Howard Kimewon (Hominy Soup), Vicki Ellis (Dream Catchers and craft miniature drums), and Mashkawisen Treatment Center residents (Waaganogans Making).

Rick Gresczyk and others taught games in Ojibwemowin, including Ojibwe Jenga, cribbage, tossing of a ball game, and nature walks.

Other activities during the camp included: moccasin games; a talent show that featured songs performed by Frank Montano (flute and guitar), Babette Sandman (harmonica), and Gordy Jourdain (fiddle); Mad Science experiments with Dr. Arne Vainio; Ricing Pole Canoe Races; and a mini-powwow with one drum, spot dances, a two step, a potato dance, and musical chairs.

The camp was a cultural time for families to reconnect with each other, learn Ojibwemowin, and experience Ojibwe culture. Jim and Pat Northrup and Rick Gresczyk were the lead coordinators for the event.

Families and community centers in and near the Fond du Lac Reservation donated to, and sponsored meals throughout the camp.

To view video of the activities, see:  www.IndianCountryTV.com.

Next Year’s Camp will be held June 21-24, 2012 at Kiwenz Campground in Sawyer, MN.  If you have questions regarding the camp or would like to make a monetary donation, please contact Jim or Pat Northrup at 218-878-0245.

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