Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
7500 Odawa Circle
Project instructor and fluent speaker, Maryann Endanawas spends a majority of language teaching time using just Anishinaabemowin with the trainees. Maryann involves the trainees in all aspects of language learning, which include understanding/listening, speaking, reading, and writing using various teaching techniques. Carla Osawamick administers the Project, teaches communicative techniques, and guides curriculum development. The Project offers a weekly intermediate level community class called “Kanishnaabemi” where Maryann facilitates activities that are highly interactive.
KAP trainees are involved in learning about teacher education and gaining a great deal of professional development. Dorothy Perry, Academic Coordinator, Amanda Weinert, Curriculum Specialist, and Jannan Cotto, Director, of LTBB Niigaandwin Education Department, present workshops to the trainees surrounding areas of early childhood development and indigenous education. Ms. Cotto recently presented on federal education policy and the transition from ‘No Child Left Behind’ to ESS: ‘Every Student Succeeds’ and how that change impacts Native American education. Ms. Perry has focused on topics of cognitive development, interacting with toddlers, and planning for early childhood curriculum. Ms. Weinert taught digital storytelling, technology and the impact for native students. Netawn Kiogima has addressed curriculum standards and benchmarks as they relate to the Michigan public school system, and has guided them in development of lesson and unit plans, as well as understanding of educational philosophy, methods and approaches, techniques and classroom management. Gwen Gasco has taught them about utilizing technology, linguistics of second language learning, and use of non-verbal communication. The trainees have been taught a host of various topics which all relate back to skills need to be an effective and successful teacher. The training received is enriched by having the diverse expertise and perspectives of several people experienced in education, language and community programming.
The Project challenge has been retention of trainees. It is often difficult to make a three-year commitment to the training project, while maintaining other responsibilities such as work and family. Midway through the Project period, there were two trainees remaining. They are Renee Dillard and Raymond Shenoskey. By this time, it was too far into the Project to bring in new trainees. We handled the challenge by restructuring our approach. Trainees are involved in twice as many training hours each week, 32 hours per week. This allows for more time to receive individualized training, perform practicum teaching experiences, and gain experience in curriculum development. Trainees are able to interact in more of a mentoring relationship with fluent-speaking instructor. The challenge presented other opportunities that resulted in Project success.
Formal practicums, teaching experiences have been ongoing throughout the past year. Trainees design age-appropriate lessons, create the necessary resources, plan and deliver. They have performed formal practicums at LTBB Head Start, Waaniigaanzijik Youth Department, Harbor Springs High School, and North Central Michigan College. Practicums are observed by staff who perform a written evaluation of their performance, and then review the evaluation with the trainee afterward, noting what went well, and areas for improvement. Trainees have also done self-evaluations and peer-evaluations.
Trainees have been involved in teaching and presenting at various LTBB programs and events. This is the most valuable experience for Trainees, since the best way to learn is to do, hands-on field experience. Trainees have excellent opportunity to try out the lessons and materials that they’ve developed. They’ve been highly involved in the community. They’ve taught language and done presentations at day camps, Title VII Indian Education Year-end Celebrations, and LTBB Professional Developments for employees, Waaniigaanzijik Youth Department, Elders luncheons, Spring Grant Nish Fish, Greensky Hill day camp, weekly ceremony circles, employee classes, mini-lessons with Tribal Council, and high schools. KAP Trainees are being recognized as teachers in the community, and starting to get requests for language support, such as how to say something, to do a prayer at special events, or to present at events.
KAP hosts at least two community gatherings each year. The Project hosted a family language camp day at the community center in the Summer. It well attended, with a lot of fun language games and outside activities. They facilitated feast bag-making for families in Fall 2016. This was not so well-attended, but worked out because it took quite a bit of one-on-one guided help. Trainees taught related terms in Anishinaabemowin. The purpose was to encourage the community to use environmentally-friendly feast bags, also called ‘dish bags.’ In Spring 2017, the community gathering event was storytelling. Each trainee was the ‘producer’ of delivering an animal legend in Anishinaabemowin, using the medium of their own design. The result was five legends, one was a digital storybook played on the big screen, one was a play, acted out, two were made using puppets, and the last was done by shadow-puppetry. Each play or skit was accompanied by a song. They were all in Anishinaabemowin, and all of the trainees played a part in each play or skit. They were performed as a warm-up at the Title VII Indian Education Storytelling Taco Dinner event. Later, they delivered a storytelling evening event to community families. It went very well, with an excellent turnout.
In Fall 2017, KAP hosted an intertribal Kichidamniwin game day and quiz bowl. Guest speakers, as well as KAP trainees and staff, presented workshops and facilitated an intermediate level competitive quiz bowl. Spring 2018, KAP community gathering is a series of workshops on cedar mat making. Participants are making an individual take-home naakniigaanhs, small mat. They are also working together to make a very large community mat. These are traditional mats made by Odawa and used for several purposes. The community mat will be made available to community members to use for ceremonies, as was traditionally used to place the feast food upon, instead of a blanket. Related language materials are distributed, taught and used throughout the process.
Cultural understanding is essential for teachers in Anishinaabe communities. Opportunities to learn culture are included in the training. KAP trainees attended Traditional Teaching workshops hosted by the LTBB Burial Board and Niigaandwin Education Department. They attended a one-day workshop about the effects and healing from Historical Trauma hosted by LTBB Minozhiyaa Community Health. Project staff and trainees attended the annual A-teg language conference in Sault Ste. Marie, where there was a host of topics offered in workshops, for teachers, students, curriculum, and technology. Trainees attended two days of cultural “Eastern Door Teachings.” Summer 2016, the team went to Manitoulin Island to visit Mchigeeng and Wikwemikong first nations. We visited an immersion school, Anishinaabe museum, and several Anishinaabemowin programs. The team connected with several fluent speakers, other teachers, and tribal school staff. KAP also attended GTB (Grand Traverse Band) language camp in Peshawbestown, in Summer 2016 and 2017. Nearly all the presenters are fluent speakers, presenting topics about language, culture, and working with children.
KAP attended the LRB (Little River Band) annual language camp in Manistee, in July 2017. The Trainees, Renee and Raymond, were presenters at language camp. They presented two different workshops to participants of all ages. KAP team will also be presenters at the annual Anishinaabemowin Teg Language Conference in Sault Ste. Marie. The workshop is an opportunity to distribute curricular materials that have been developed, and will present an overview of the ANA Project and model teaching techniques.
PROJECT CLOSING: KAP Project was completed in July 2018, with the successful completion of both teacher trainees. Raymond Shenoskey will be transferring to Central Michigan University in the Fall to pursue a degree in education and state-certification in teaching Anishinaabemowin. Renee Dillard will continue her work in the LTBB community, teaching language while teaching traditional Anishinaabe fiber arts: gathering, processing and making of traditional Odawa items. Gijigowi Anishinaabemowin Language Department will seek funding and programming to expand services and utilize new teachers, and continue to develop future teachers through existing programs.
7500 Odawa Circle
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
© 2014 Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians