Our Anishinaabemowin Program
Algoma University is the only university in Canada to offer a three-year undergraduate degree in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibwe language.
Currently, Anishinaabemowin faces many of the dangers other languages around the world face – extinction. The language was originally passed on by elders to younger generations through oral storytelling; however, this tradition has changed in recent years. The language relies upon a newer and younger generation to become versed in the language and to pass their teachings on to future generations. Thus, by studying Anishinaabemowin, you have the power to revive and maintain the language of one of the earliest peoples in Canada.
Our program offers basic- to advanced-level instruction in the Ojibwe language and culture. Within the program, students gain a functional level of fluency in the language and thoroughly investigate the challenges posed by the written word. They will individually and collectively examine social structures and values within Anishinaabe society, and will also study the Anishinaabe worldview and philosophy. By examining the Anishinaabe’s oral and written history, students will come to understand the grammar and sound of Anishinaabemowin through various written exercises. Our students will also be exposed to Anishinaabe music and social activism, as well as the regional differences that exist in the Anishinaabe culture across Canada.
What makes our program even more unique is the rich cultural history in which Algoma U is founded on. Over 12 per cent of our student body is Anishinaabe (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit), and that number continues to grow. With a special mission and commitment to cross-cultural learning, our Anishinaabemowin program looks to bring Chief Shingwauk’s vision of “sharing, healing, and learning” to fruition. Our campus is located on the site of the former Shingwauk Indian Residential School, and is committed to researching, collecting, preserving, and displaying the history of the residential schools system; developing and delivering projects in relation to Chief Shingwauk’s mission; and bringing about individual and community cultural restoration under the name of The Shingwauk Project. Thus, the educational experience students receive here is unlike any other and is deeply rooted in Anishinaabe culture and history.
What You Can Expect
Hands-on learning, a close-knit campus community, and caring faculty.
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Elders in Residence
Through the involvement of community Elders, Algoma U and the Anishinaabe Initiatives have created a special program which provides additional support to its Anishinaabe students. Elders frequently visit campus throughout the academic school year to share their insights and wisdom, and to also help enhance cultural awareness and sensitivity by covering a wide range of topics.
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Cross-Cultural Awareness Workshops and Presentations
Algoma U hosts many cross-cultural awareness workshops and presentations throughout the year. Guest speakers, poets, writers, and social activists frequent campus to provide additional support to Anishinaabe students, and to help them become more knowledgeable about their own culture and past.
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Anishinaabe Research Symposium
The Anishinaabe Research Symposium highlights the research being conducted by Anishinaabe faculty and students. The symposium also demonstrates the need for Anishinaabe perspectives in current research being undertaken. The purpose of this one day conference is to encourage Anishinaabe students to consider higher education.
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Shingwauk Gathering and Conference
This annual conference allows Indigenous peoples to come together to continue the work of Chief Shingwauk’s vision of “sharing, healing, and learning.” Survivors and their families from across Canada, including the Missanabie Cree First Nation, Chapleau First Nation, Batchewana First Nation, and Garden River First Nation make the trek to Sault Ste. Marie and the University.
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Gathering at the Rapids Pow Wow
This weekend-long celebration honours the Anishinaabe heritage and culture which exists at Algoma U and within the Algoma region. The annual Gathering at the Rapids Pow Wow: Honouring Life Long Learning features the music, dances, crafts, and foods of the Anishinaabe culture, and usually sees over 2,000 spectators. This makes the Gathering at the Rapids Pow Wow one of the biggest pow wows in Northern Ontario.
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The Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association (SASA)
The Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association (SASA) is committed to ensuring that Anishinaabe (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) students’ university experience is fulfilling and enjoyable. SASA is an organization run by students for students, and works to ensure that Anishinaabe students’ voices are recognized amongst the Algoma U community. SASA supports the academic and cultural needs of Anishinaabe students and offers family and cultural activities for all students at Algoma U. For more information on SASA, or to get involved, please visit the SASA webpage.
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The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC)
The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) is a cross-cultural research and educational centre. The centre works together with Survivor groups, church entities, educators, First Nations, and others, to research, collect, preserve, and display the history of the residential schools across Canada. They also develop and deliver projects of sharing, healing, learning, and individual and community cultural restoration in relation to the impact of the schools. Together, they also work to realize Chief Shingwauk’s vision of cross-cultural synthesis of traditional Anishinaabe and European knowledge and learning systems.
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A meaningful career path
A degree in Anishinaabe Studies can help students become educators, linguists, civil servants, policy makers, and so much more. Studies show that the federal government recruits 5,000 new bilingual employees every year, and bilingual workers earn, on average, between 15 to 21 per cent more than someone who is unilingual.
For more detailed information on our courses, please visit our courses schedule sectionGet Started Now
Meet our Faculty
We have a highly credentialed and caring faculty who are committed to Algoma U’s special mission