I was the Writer, Associate Producer and Director of Photography for re-enactment scenes filmed on the Lac du Flambeau reservation in northern Wisconsin. The series won Best Documentary Feature at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco in 2002 and this episode won a Midwest Region Emmy Award. Produced and Directed by Lorraine Norrgard for WDSE-8 PBS in Duluth.
“If we lose the language, we are no more, we may become something else, but we will not be Anishinaabe.”
–Walt Bressette, Red Cliff Ojibwe
Language defines the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people as a culture thriving in a unique relationship with the Creator and the natural world. As the second-largest tribe on the North American continent, they have maintained a vast history through oral tradition for thousands of years, long before European contact. This episode of Waasa Inaabidaa-We Look In All Directions examines the origin stories, language, and oral teachings of the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes Region.
Episode Six: Ojibwemowin – “Ojibwe Oral Tradition” begins with Ojibwe origin narratives, and chronicles the decline and near disappearance of Ojibwe language and culture, continues through rebirth and renewal, and comes full circle to today’s cultural renaissance and revival of language and tradition. A mixture of Ojibwe language (with English sub-titles), animation, drama, artwork, archival photos, interviews, and story telling presents a rich tapestry and narrative of Ojibwe creation and tradition. This episode features survival narratives, the migration story, and contemporary language and cultural preservation programs emphasizing today’s Ojibwe children and future generations.
The Ojibwe people have adapted and survived generations of assaults on Ojibwe culture, language and identity. Today, Ojibwe language and traditions thrive in all aspects of Anishinaabe-Ojibwe life.