Ojibwe Language & Cultural Camp Connects Members With Their History
A camp that immerses children and young adults between the ages of 6-18 into their traditions and history is what the Ojibwe Language & Culture Camp is all about. In its fifth year, the camp is put on by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and kicked off at the Ponemah Round House.
“It’s about teaching the kids who they are, getting them connected with all the things that help them become wonderful, strong, resilient people,” said Red Lake Band Director of Economic Development & Planning Samuel Strong.
Fifty kids showed up on day one. During the three-day camp, teachings include nature walks, creating medicine pouches, drumsticks and learning the language.
There’s also time for the fun stuff: kids play lacrosse, one of the activities the Anishinaabe people played. They also play a moccasin game where they try to find the marked marble and win the most sticks.
“We get to play stuff and we get to make drumsticks and it’s fun,” said Camper Elvis King.
Elders play a major role in the culture. – consider them human dictionaries. Teachers can come to them to learn how to say certain words to teach them to the young children. They’re known as grandmas and called by their Indian names.
“And it’s very important for the kids to learn [the Ojibwe language] and to carry it for us when we’re gone,” said Frances Miller of the Immersion Ojibwe Program.
Campers can identify with their history, something that can be passed on for years to come.
“So whenever we get older we can tell our kids about our Native American culture,” said Camper Gavin Sumner.
“We always talk about the seven teachings: bravery, honesty, humility, love, respect, truth and wisdom,” said Strong. “Those are the things that we try to pass on to them.”
The hope is that they learn what it means to be from Red Lake and be Ojibwe.