Learning everything OjibweThis weekend’s FREE Nagaajiwanaang language camp in Sawyer promises more than Ojibwe vocabulary words and spelling lessons. The four-day camp itself will be a lesson in all things Ojibwe, from attitude to native crafts to tanning hides, plus canoe races and other contests that teach skills valued by the traditional Ojibwe culture.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
This weekend’s Nagaajiwanaang language camp in Sawyer promises more than Ojibwe vocabulary words and spelling lessons. The four-day camp itself will be a lesson in all things Ojibwe, from attitude to native crafts to tanning hides, plus canoe races and other contests that teach skills valued by the traditional Ojibwe culture.
There is no Ojibwe class list for campers, said organizer Pat Northrup.
“The mornings are reserved primarily for language learning,” Northrup said, noting there will be a number of fluent Ojibwe speakers at the camp to share their knowledge. “It will be mostly group sessions — everyone together — but it’s very informal. We don’t follow the clock. It’s done when it’s done.”
She rattled off a list of activities available in the afternoons, when campers can make moccasins, birchbark baskets, smoked foods, flutes, drumsticks and bells, rice knockers and more. “Mad Scientist” Arne Vainio will be back to teach campers about science and fun.
The activities won’t be a break from the language learning, rather they’re part of the bigger picture.
This year’s language camp starts Thursday morning, June 13, and runs through Sunday, June 16. Everyone is welcome, regardless of cultural heritage or age.
It’s the fifth year for the camp, which has grown every year, with more than 700 attending last year’s event, up from 400-plus the year before.
Food is also provided at the camp, although Northrup asks that campers bring their own plates, cups and utensils, to help promote reuse and recycling. She also asks that campers bring bottled water or snacks to share. There are bathroom and shower facilities on site.
For the first time this year, Fond du Lac Transit will provide rides for reservation residents who call in advance, plus the bus will pick up from the camp at 4 and 8 p.m. each day.
According to fdlrez.com, folks who want to use the transit are asked to schedule a ride before 7 a.m. on the day of (or the day before) by calling 878-7500. Cost is $1. Any child under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
IF YOU GO
• Directions: To get to the Kiwenz Campground, head west from Black Bear Casino Resort 7.3 miles on Highway 210. Turn right on Mission Road, by the Sawyer Store. Follow signs on Mission Road to the campground, between three and four miles. Turn right on Lake Road where it forms a T with Mission Road. The campground is a couple more bends down the road.
• Register at the gate. There is no charge, but bring your own tent, plate, cup and silverware. Food is provided. No alcohol or drugs are allowed.
• For more information, call Pat or Jim Northrup at 218-878-0245.