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Wednesday August 15th 2018

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Raise Your Voice – Upholding native languages

BY PETER MOLENAAR

I have again had the opportunity to meet with Anita Gates at the Pow Wow Grounds Coffee Shop on Franklin Ave. Anita has an advanced degree in the field of education and is certified to teach the Dakota language. The local American Indian Parents Committee actively shares her concerns regarding the status of Native education. They are all willfully determined, even if feigning submissiveness is occasionally deployed for navigational purposes. The preservation and promotion of Native languages is a priority.

Should the rest of us care?

About a hundred years ago, Lenin addressed the chauvinism imbued to Russian workers. He stated, in essence: If you intend to build a new world from the ashes of the old, abrogate your own nationalism while making concessions to the nationalism of oppressed peoples. Actually, this is a fundamental principle.

What good are the Ojibwa and Dakota languages in today’s world?

When the Indian was taken from the man (stolen from the stolen children), the man was diminished, not “saved”. Consider that one’s self-image is socially determined and that self-esteem has much to do with the desire and capacity to learn. It follows that a commitment to the restoration of Native languages would elevate our nation as a whole.

Can we afford to do this?

My numbers regarding the Republican Party’s tax reform are a bit soft. Let’s go with: Trump saved $7 billion for himself and $1.5 trillion for his capitalist friends.

Moving forward…

A proposed merger of programs between the Anishinaabe Academy and South High might begin to improve matters locally. Further involvement by the teachers’ unions would be good. Regarding the Bureau of Indian Affairs, politicizing of the annual American Indian Education Conference might serve to shed some light across the land.

Meanwhile…

Those white workers who suckle from the breast of Donald Trump should stop feeling so inferior. Be happy that some folks speak more than one language. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS!

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