Anishina Abachov’s National Language Commissioner recognizes lifelong work

Anishinabak National Language Commissioner Barbara Nolan, right and Wikmong’s linguist and artisan Cindy Wemgwans recently won the Indigenous Arts Council’s 2021 Indigenous Arts Award and the Young Artist Award. – Photo provided

By Rick Garrick

Her lifelong work was inspired by the Ontario Council of Indigenous Arts Award for her life-long work of inspiring the River River – Anishinabak Nation Language Commissioner Barbara Nolan Anisina Abemovin. The prize, which includes $ 10,000, a frame certificate and a locally designed blanket, will be unveiled tomorrow.

“I’m really honored,” she said, referring to her nomination for the award in Milan. “I was so honored to be appointed, and I never thought I would receive it. I was shocked to receive a phone call. ”

Nolan talks about her work to inspire Anishina Abemovin, who began her career in the 1970s when she developed the first Anishina Abemovin curriculum in Sault Ste. In the area of ​​Marie and the Garden River, it includes immersive videos created by John Paul Montano using stories as a teaching method. The videos are posted on her website,

Nolan says: “I think this is wisdom in itself, and it involves you when you try to convey what the speaker is saying about you without using grammar or meaning in English. It’s like building a better way – they show your story in the language.

Nolan says she also taught Anishina Abomwi’s teachings and baptismal lessons on the virtual platform, Agula.

“I put down the magnifying glass in my house,” says Nolan. I ordered a board and that’s where I do my baptismal lessons.

One of the students at the school where she was a child told Anishina Abemovin to her mother-in-law and asked her to teach them. She created her own flash cards and other resources for the curriculum.

“The children were happy to learn the language of their parents and grandparents,” says Nolan. “It’s a matter of identity. I wanted them to be proud of who they are.

Nolan then received requests from Algoma University and Salt Apple College of Arts to develop Anishina Abeomovin courses.

“Algoma University wanted to release a course of interest and wanted to include Saul College [Anishinaabemowin] And culture as a course in their education, ”Nolan said. So I started teaching there but the class was so big that we needed another teacher. So they added another teacher to that program so there were two streams of language and culture for the students.

Nolan also designed the Nishna Abemda app, the Nishina Abemovine app.

As the recipient of the Indigenous Art Prize, Nolan was invited to nominate a growing artist or artistic leader for the $ 2,500 award-winning artist Lorette, so she chose Cindy, an indefinite state linguist and craftsman. Wemmigans for a prize.

“Cindy Wemigwans should be recognized for her efforts to preserve her language and culture,” says Nolan. After becoming an outspoken speaker of Nishnaab, she focused on sharing this knowledge with the next generation – both as a teacher and as a mother. She directs your student N to work with Nishna Abemwin in beadwork and skincare, creating important connections between language management and other aspects of their culture.

Wemigwans, a language teacher with the Rainbow District School Board, serves as vice president of the Nawewin Gamik Nishnaabemwin Language Nest Executive Committee in Dogming, South Bay. She also offers after-school courses where students learn about traditional handicrafts in the Anishina Abemovin language-immersion area.

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