Jan 13, 2023 | By: Justin Othoudt

Golden Apple: Cass Lake-Bena Students Coach Teachers to Recite Ojibwe Protocols

Monday was an exciting day for students in Cass Lake-Bena’s Ojibwe Honors Class, as almost a full quarter’s worth of work was shown when teachers coached by the students loudly and proudly recited their protocols in the Ojibwe language.

“Ojibwe protocol being your name, your clan, where you’re from and where you live at,” explained Cass Lake-Bena School District Ojibwe language teacher Charles Grolla.

Students in the honors class worked closely with teachers, explaining not just how to say their protocols, but also how to count to ten and name all five of their fingers in Ojibwe.

“I feel like I learned a lot and I taught a lot,” explained Ojibwe Honors Class student Logan Oehler. “I even stayed after some nights to help coach people.”

“I know like the teachers were, some, were really nervous,” said Ojibwe Honors Class Student Nakomis Mitchell. “Even though they teach, and can talk in front of a class, being in front of the whole school is different.”

“I was shaking, my feet got numb, my hands went numb, it was tough,” explained Cass Lake-Bena teacher Charles Huju.

While this project might have been difficult for both students and teachers alike, it also served as an important melding of differing cultures. Grolla noted that the student body is mostly Indigenous, and the staff at the high school does not reflect this.

“I was very proud to see my colleagues step up and work with our students to get out of their boundaries and learn their protocol,” said Cass Lake-Bena School District Director of Indian Education Sydney Novak. “That was really nice to see.”

Monday also saw students who participated in the school’s annual Fall Moccasin Game Tournament be awarded for their hard work throughout the course of the event.

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