Introduction: Language is not just a tool for communication; it holds the key to preserving cultures and strengthening connections between generations. In this blog post, I want to share with you my personal journey with Polish Language and how it inspired me to create bridge books to help preserve and promote the Anishinaabemowin language, spoken by the Native Ontarians.
My Language Learning Journey: Growing up in a bilingual household, where my father spoke fluent Polish and my mother primarily spoke English, they were determined to teach me Polish. When my father was away, my mother ingeniously used board books with English text and Polish nouns to teach me (us) the language. These fun-filled learning experiences not only deepened my bond with my mother but also kindled my passion for languages.
The Importance of Language Preservation: Working at the Native Canadian Community Center opened my eyes to the challenges faced by Indigenous communities in preserving their ancestral languages. Many generations have lost their native languages, but there is a growing understanding of their significance and a strong desire to revive them for the benefit of future generations. It was then that the idea of creating bridge books for Anishinaabemowin emerged.
Bridging the Gap: Realizing the need to bridge the language gap and promote familiarity with Anishinaabemowin, I embarked on writing a simple beginner book about Anishinaabemowin Animals. My goal was to introduce the language to early learners and provide a resource that parents and families could use to teach their children. Proceeds from the book were dedicated to supporting Nawewin Gami, an Anishinaabemowin Immersion Program.
Spreading the Love for Anishinaabemowin: To ensure that the book reached its intended audience, I coordinated the free distribution of the e-book to parents and families at the Native Canadian Community Center. This initiative aimed to foster a sense of pride and connection to their language and culture, while also creating opportunities for non-Indigenous individuals to become familiar with Anishinaabemowin.
Conclusion: My journey in rediscovering my Polish roots and my experience working with Indigenous communities has opened my eyes to the power of language in preserving culture and building bridges of understanding. Through the creation of bridge books and initiatives to promote Anishinaabemowin, I hope to contribute to the revitalization and appreciation of Indigenous languages. Together, let's embrace linguistic diversity and support language preservation efforts for a more connected and culturally enriched world.