President’s “Aapji Nmiigwechwendam”
2014 Anishinaabemowin-Teg Conference:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Elder Senate and the Youth Council of Anishinaabemowin Teg Inc., I would like to extend our special Gchi-miigweches to all the participants who attended and supported our Annual Language Conference where we celebrated our twentieth anniversary. This conference brought together Sault Ste Marie Tribal members, First Nations leaders, Elders, Educators, professionals, language teachers, and the youth. Our theme was “Niizhtana nsa-biboon Gii-bi-bimoseyaang Anishinaabemowin: Shkweyaang-naabiing miinwaa Niigaan-Naabiing. “A Twenty Year Journey of Language: Looking Back and Looking Forward”. On the first day of this event we honoured the Founders of Anishinaabemowin Teg Inc. and we also presented two Lifetime Awards to Anishinaabe kweg of Michigan, Carla Osawamick and Carrie Leaureaux.
First of all, we are especially grateful for the dedication of all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly throughout the conference and making this another successful event.
Much appreciation goes out to the Cultural coordinators: Cecil Pavlat, Les Ailing, and Ron Yellowman who were responsible for the lodge, the Sacred Fire, to the fire keepers and Pipe Carriers and the Elders who assisted in the Sunrise ceremonies.
To the coordinators and their assistants, who has helped tremendously; Sophie Corbiere, Starla and Darren Thompson (guest flute player for the Founders luncheon) Kim Wheatley, Stella Rose Osawamick, Kimberley Hillman, Niso Bradford, Margaret Gordon, Bev Peltier and to Janis Fairbanks, Management Agent, who has been with Anishinaabemowin Teg.
Welcome letters received from Aaron A. Payment, Sault Tribe Tribal Chairman; Shawn Atleo, National Chief of Assembly of First Nations; Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of Anishinabek Nation; Debbie Amaroso, Mayor of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario; and to Anthony G. Bosbous, Mayor of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, who made people feel welcome.
Our emcee, who did a marvelous job, Bea Shawanda for our twentieth year including the keynote speakers: Wab Kinew “Looking Forward: Directions in Digital Learning”; Shirley Ida Williams “Looking Back: Language Journey of twenty years and What Anishinaabemowin Teg has Accomplished”, and to all the Presenters for a job well done!
To Craft people George Martin (Beadwork) Marilyn Debassige (Baby Quilt Teachings and Making Baby Quilts) and Marsha Traxler-Reeves who demonstrated their art to all who wanted to learn and to the Vendors who come every year to help support our conference.
To the Soo Michigan Tribal drum, Henry Lewis, who was present at that Grand Opening Ceremony, banquet, and at the Concluding Ceremonies including the hand drummers, who came for the Round Dance on the Thursday evening and to Bev Naokwegiizhig and the volunteers who catered the feast of five different soups with bannock. Such an enjoyable event!
To Kewadin Hotel Conference Staff for being the host for the last fourteen years; much appreciation goes out to the managers Todd, Kim, Stephanie, Vicky and to all the staff.
Thanks to the Tribal cultural coordinator Les Ailing in assisting at the Neganigiizhig Cultural Centre and also to Kewadin Hotel staff for the transportation they provided to the Round Dance site on the Thursday evening. To the entertainers who played on Thursday evening: Suntan Fran Mishibinijima; Ruby John and her fiddle; Jaach Trudeau on keyboard and all who participated and showed their singing talents at the Hoedown. What Anishinaabe talent we have!
The biggest highlights is the Scholarship Banquet. Honor song was sung, the Memorial Scholarship recipients proudly followed the Eagle Staff along with the Board of Directors and the Founders of AnishinaabemowinTeg, Inc. The speeches of the students were well prepared which shows that our language is going to survive in the coming years. We would also like to say miigwech to the Memorial families for their generous monetary donations.
For the social, the five drums, Eagle Staff carriers, Head Dancers and to all the dancers who brought their regalia and their smiles to the Saturday evening. Miigwech to the emcees, Niso Bradford and Gordie Odjig that made a wonderful evening to be enjoyed by all!
The photographers were Bruno Henry, and Irina Popova and videographer, Gordie Odjig. Awesome Work! With Bruno Henry doing the fashion show on Saturday morning made it fun and show case how creative Anishinaabeg designers can be.
Acknowledgement goes out to Stacie Sheldon and Margaret Noodin for all the great work that they do on our web-site so that our media can get out to the public to know what is going on at Anishinaabemowin Teg.
Without sponsors, the Ads in our conference booklet as well sponsored table for the Banquet from Wikwemikong Board of Education and to Union of Ontario Indians our twentieth year celebration really helped to have a good celebration.
In conclusion, we say miigwech to the Eagle Staff carriers, for the concluding ceremony with the Traveling song that was sung. This event was truly a “marvelous time” to meet up with old friends, make new friends, exchange emails, telephone numbers visit and to just enjoy yourself. We look forward to seeing you all back to our next years’ conference. So book your holidays and mark your calendars for March 25-29 2015.