Ojibwe first language speakers and second language learners joined together to collect hundreds of stories and develop 5 books. Dozens of band members contributed to the project – providing stories, transcribing, editing, and creating illustrations. Written in the Ojibwe language, these delightful short stories bring to life the tales, traditions, and creative genius of some of Ojibwe country’s most gifted storytellers while providing essential tools for language-learning.
The difference between this and other publications of Ojibwe-language is that these books are completely monolingual.
The book project took just under three years from conception to publication, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing much of the work to be done through online video calls. In late September 2020, the first three books were published in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society. Two additional books were released in September 2021.
Some tribes have no living fluent speakers. The MLBO is working to see that we create another generation of speakers and that our most respected population of Band members, our Elders, get to see that their work has not gone undervalued. They will soon be able to hear children speaking Ojibwe again. The book projects were driven by the desire of the band’s elders to preserve the heritage that was passed on to them by their ancestors. The goal is to teach speakers for hundreds of years to come.