Minnesota State University, Mankato and Bemidji State University Awarded Multicampus Collaboration Grant for Ojibwe Language Consortium for Second Year

October 08, 2020 |

A professor of Anthropology, Dr. Chelsea Mead has been awarded a system Multi-Campus Collaboration Grant for a second year. Her proposal, "Ojibwe Language Consortium" was fully funded to support and expand upon Minnesota State Mankato’s collaboration with Bemidji State University teaching Ojibwe language courses. The grant will support an ongoing collaboration with Bemidji State University, which offers Ojibwe language courses to students at BSU and Minnesota State Mankato, as well as expand the existing partnership to include experiential learning opportunities and community engagement for students enrolled in the courses.

Ojibwe is one of Minnesota’s two heritage languages and is critically endangered, according to Minnesota State Mankato Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indigenous Studies Chelsea Mead.

Mead, who authored and submitted the grant proposal, looks forward to the enhanced opportunities for Ojibwe language students from Mankato to connect with and build a richer relationship with the students in Bemidji. Through the grant, students from both universities will be able to complement their telepresence studies with in-person interactions and experiences. The grant will provide student and faculty member travel to language conferences and bring students from both campuses together during the academic year for cultural activities and gatherings.

The Ojibwe language courses benefit both Native and non-Native students by increasing cultural experiences and competencies. The courses expand opportunities for Native students to learn and explore Indigenous languages and cultures, while helping to improve retention and recruitment of Native American students. In addition, for non-Native students, the courses increase awareness and experience with Indigenous cultures and languages.

Bemidji State University is home to the first collegiate Ojibwe language program in the United States, starting with adjunct classes in 1969 and a full three-year sequence of language courses starting in 1971.

For more information, please contact Chelsea Mead, Minnesota State Mankato (phone: 507-389-1302; email: chelsea.mead@mnsu.edu), or Anton Treuer, Bemidji State University (phone: 218-755-3968; email: anton.treuer@bemidjistate.edu).

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Anthropology and American Indigenous Studies program are part of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences at the University.

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