Perhaps what has hit me the hardest as the Idle No More movement develops, is the reminder that I still can’t answer that question with confidence. Nin-gagwe-nitaa- anishinaabem. I’m trying to learn Ojibwe. I was raised in Ottawa, and my mother was adopted during the Sixties Scoop and raised in a non-Anishinaabe household. My kookum attended Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, and she passed on years before anyone in my family could find her. All of her children were taken from her. Nobody in my immediate family speaks the language fluently. Bangii eta ni-nisidotam. I can understand only a little. I hope that my relations living on and near Obishikokaang hold onto the language. Reconnecting with our extended family is an ongoing, long-term process, and there are many relatives I have yet to meet. Many other Indigenous people can share similar stories on how the Canadian state has implemented strategies to rip apart their families and impede the transmission of language between generations. Residential schooling, adoption, hospitalization. Enfranchisement, marrying out. You hear these words and terms over and over again. These are all strategies of colonization, and they have been very, very effective.
Read to the end– they collect multiple translations.