A portrait of a student

Turning my passion for Anishinaabemowin into a career

Boozhoo indinawemaaganidok, Ogimaa Binesi indigo. Jared Hunter indizhinikaaz. Manidoo Baawitigong indoonjii idash Fort Frances-oodenaang indaa noongom. Gichi-manidoo-giizis ingii-ondaadiz igaye niizhtana ashi-niizh indaso-biboonagiz. Rainy Lake Sports adaawewigamigong indanokii gaye ingikinoo’amaagoz noongom. Bangii eta go ninitaa-anishinaabem idash ingikinoo’amaagoz geyaabi. Gii-kwiiwizensiwiyaan ingii-noondaan owe anishinaabemowin moozhag iwe apii. Niminwendaanan gabeshiyaan igaye babaamaadiziyaan igaye bimibatooyaan. Aapiji go niminwendaan gikinoo’amaagooyaan ji-nitaa-anishinaabemoyaan. 

Hello, my relatives. My spirit name is Chief Thunderbird. My name is Jared Hunter. I’m from Rainy River First Nations, but I reside in Fort Frances today. I was born in January, and I am 22 years old. I work at Rainy Lake Sports, and I go to school right now. I only speak a little Anishinaabemowin, but I am still learning. I’ve heard this language often since I was a little boy. I like to camp, travel, and run. I like being taught how to skillfully speak Anishinaabemowin very much. 

Finding my passion for language

Everybody has had extracurriculars and hobbies that have helped them with their mental health, keep motivated, and stay on track with their life goals. For me, I had no idea growing up what I wanted to do. I still wonder where I’m going to end up one day, but staying connected to my culture and language has always been something I’ve loved to do. 

My hobbies and interests played a significant role in how I chose my current path. Sticking to what you are passionate about is important when deciding where you want to be when you grow up. You never know where opportunities might lead you or who you might meet one day because of it. If you are struggling to find your passion, try answering the same questions I did. Is there a sport you excel in or a subject in school that you like? It’s an excellent place to start if you are in the same boat as I was.

For me, my favourite part of school was learning my language. A few years ago I moved to Minnesota to finish high school in International Falls. I stayed involved in my language by taking all of the Ojibwe and Anishinaabe studies classes I could. I also competed on my school’s Quiz Bowl team contesting my knowledge of the language and culture. I continued with Ojibwe classes because they made me happy, and I excelled at them. 

My past influencing my future

I have had some great teachers in the past, and I know following in the direction they helped prepare me for will guide me to my dream job one day. Whether it was my grandma teaching me what migizi (bald eagle) meant as a kid, or Mr. Vollom testing and preparing us for the state Quiz Bowl tournament. All of my teachers have impacted my life so positively, and one day when I teach the language, I hope to be everything they were to me. 

I honestly don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have the mentors I did growing up. Everybody in my past has kept me going even on the days life felt impossible, and I truly appreciate all my past teachers, family members, and educators who taught me how to get through life’s ups and downs. Being content with where you are and who you are becoming is something I’ll always be grateful for, but it wouldn’t have been possible without my supporters. All of my past instructors have been very influential in my life, impacted me, and gave me somebody to look up to. Little did I know it would end up being my future career path one day.

My present

I am currently taking the Adult Anishinaabemowin Revitalization Program and loving every day at Seven Generations Education Institute. The environment has been very supportive, welcoming, and a safe place to learn. When I first heard about the program from family and former students, I knew that it was what I wanted to do without a doubt. I have always been interested in my language and culture and have studied them throughout my education. 

I know programs like this that are revitalizing our language will help me be the best teacher I can be, and I hope to return the favor to our future generations. I am here to learn and embrace everything the class offers and cannot wait to see what the future holds for me. 

Adult Anishinaabemowin Revitalization Program

Ever since I was young, I’ve been introduced more and more to my language, and it has given me a good foundation of knowledge to use throughout my life. I genuinely think teaching the language and staying connected to my culture is what I was meant to do. When deciding to attend the Anishinaabemowin Revitalization Program at SGEI, I considered the commitment school could be, but choosing to pursue something that I have always loved drives me. Programs such as this one are the future of Anishinabe. A way we can teach younger generations and keep the language strong. I can tell a lot of the other students feel the same way in this program. 

This program has personally inspired me to be my best self to represent the school, the community, my reserve, and my best self. I cannot wait to see where this program leads me with all the opportunities, skills, and experience I will gain over the next three years. My instructors are teaching the language in such an easy yet complex way. It has only been 11 weeks, and the way my classmates and I are exceeding and processing so much knowledge is such a rewarding feeling. The future holds so many exciting things for my instructors, classmates, communities, and myself. 

Finding your path is never easy, but the only way to find out who you are and who you want to be one day is to get up and take every opportunity life throws at you. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t challenge myself to do things that make me happy and further my education. Miigwech to you all, and thank you for reading!

Learn Anishinaabemowin with SGEI

Are you interested in learning Anishinaabemowin? The Anishinaabemodaa language initiative has language tools, activities, and games for individual learners and families that you can access for free online. Head over to http://www.wakingupojibwe.ca/pathways/learners/ to learn more.