In 2019 as part of a social media campaign to celebrate linguistic diversity online, Native American and First Nations language activists and advocates will be taking turns managing the @NativeLangsTech Twitter account to share their experiences with the revitalization and promotion of Native American and First Nations languages. This profile post is about Niigaatikwe (Jordyn Flaada) (@Niigaatikwe) and what she plans to discuss during her week as host.
Rising Voices: Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Niigaatikwe and I’m part of the lynx clan. I am a second language learner of Ojibwe living in Minnesota. I’ve been learning the language since 2011 in a variety of formal and informal settings including university courses, language tables, adult immersion opportunities, and hanging out with language learners and elder speakers. I also work in the field of Ojibwe language revitalization, which provides me with many opportunities to continue my learning by working with other learners, teachers, and speakers. I love traveling in Ojibwe country to visit elder speakers with my friends, my fellow language learners. I also like cats, makeup, and photography.
RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?
There are several thousand first language speakers in the Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States, primarily in Canada. In Minnesota I believe there are a few hundred speakers, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to speak with and learn from many of them, especially those from the community of Ponemah on the Red Lake Nation. I’m also grateful to speakers from Manitoba and Ontario who come to Minnesota to work with language learners here. Through the efforts of speakers and learners the Ojibwe language is taught in many settings from immersion schools for young children to university classes for adults, and hopefully these opportunities will only continue to expand.
RV: On what topics do you plan to focus during the week that you’ll manage the @NativeLangsTech Twitter account?
I’m honored to have been invited to participate in this initiative and excited about the upcoming week! I will try to show how I use the Ojibwe language in my everyday life as I interact with the natural world, mainstream society, and my fellow language learners and speakers. During this week I will also share online language resources and basic info that someone may find helpful if they’re starting to learn Ojibwe. Additionally I’m happy to answer any questions about the language, translation requests, etc., to the best of my ability—if I don’t know how to answer, I’ll do my best to find out. I love answering questions & take all questions seriously!
RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism for your language? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?
My main motivation for using the language online and in other digital spaces is simply to help create and maintain more domains where the language is used, both for the benefit of others and for the advancement of my own language learning. This can often be frustrating for learners as they may for example be learning the language in classes but not have many other places to use it. It is especially true for people who don’t live in a geographic area where they are able to get together with other learners and speakers in person. What I hope people will experience in the future is that no matter where they live or what they like to do, they will be able to use the Ojibwe language in their everyday lives in any way that they want to.