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Ojibwe declared Red Lake Nation official language; language revitalization meeting scheduled

At a special April 27 meeting of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribal Council, elected officials voted unanimously to declare Ojibwe as the official language of the Red Lake Nation.

Michael Meuers, Red Lake public relations officer, reported that the resolution noted that many the indigenous languages in the United States are in danger of disappearing if they are not preserved or promoted. The Tribal Council declaration strongly supported the preservation of the Ojibwe language for the benefit of future generations.

Red Lake has already begun a multifaceted approach to preserve the language at Red Lake in a variety of ways, including sponsoring a two-day language summit held in June 2008. Other efforts include teaching on line, in the schools and community education. Other possibilities, such as language immersion, are being explored.

"Language revitalization is an exciting multidimensional stratagem that is going on throughout Indian Country and in the state of Minnesota," Meuers said in a press release. "Members of the Tribal Council say they will support initiatives to encourage the state of Minnesota to adopt Ojibwe as an official language of the state."

The Minnesota state mandated Dakota and Ojibwe Language Revitalization Volunteer Working Group - a $500,000 dollar grant being administered by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council - will meet June 16 and 17 at the Seven Clans Casino in Red Lake.