Anishinaabemowik - Indigenous Languages Program Historical Documents

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In 1973, Lakehead University’s Anishinaabemowik (Indigenous Language Program) began with the experimental Native Language Teachers’ Training Program (NLTT) in Fort Frances, Ontario.   The training program expanded to London and Brantford, Ontario, with a second experimental program for teachers of Native Language Arts established in Thunder Bay in 1978.  By 1981, both programs had merged to become a permanent offering through Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education on the Thunder Bay campus.  The program began as a diploma program and officially became known as the “Native Language Instructors Program”.  The program offered two streams for language students: Native as a First Language (NFL), and Native as a Second Language (NSL).  The language instructor’s program focused on the Algonquian languages of Western Ojibwe/Central Ojibwe and Cree.  The summer of 1983 saw the first graduates from Lakehead University's  first language program.  In 1985, Ontario’s Ministry of Education announced a new policy regarding Native Language Education and a teacher certification program was added that summer.  From 1986 onwards the program offered three options: the Native Language Teachers’ Certification (NLTC), Native as a First Language (NAFL), and Native as a Second Language (NASL).  In the early 1990s the Native Language Summer Institute was established, offering Advanced Native Language/Linguistic courses for students who graduated from both the NLTC and NASL programs.  In 2015, the language program was accredited by the Ontario College of Teachers’ (OCT).   In 2019, the Native Language Instructors’ Program was re-accredited as the Indigenous Language Instructors’ Program. In October 2021, the program was gifted the name Anishinaabemowik during a Chiiskan (Turtle Lodge) naming ceremony.   In 2020 and 2021, the program paused in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. The program returned in 2022 and continues to offer programming for Indigenous language teachers. Looking to the future, the program will evolve further to become a more community and Aki- (Earth) based program.  

Information about the program was obtained from these sources: 

Native Language Instructor Program. (1991). NLIP summer 1991 student handbook. Faculty of Education, Lakehead University. 

Oskineegish, M. (2022). Anishinaabemowik report, Indigenous language instructor's program: History, growth, & recommendations. [Unpublished report]. Keewatinase-Department of Indigenous Education, Lakehead University. 

This exhibit was developed by Gisella Scalese, Education Librarian and Tyler Armstrong, Anishinaabemowik Program Coordinator at Lakehead University with the support and guidance of Sara Janes, University Archivist.

Description of Collection 

This collection includes program documents, including newsletters; faculty, staff and student handbooks; yearbooks, and teaching materials.  As additional materials are located, they will be added to this digital collection.