President’s Message, May 2012
"Every 14 days a language dies. By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth–many of them not yet recorded–may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain."
– National Geographic Enduring Voices Project.
On behalf of the 2012 Anishinaabemowin-Teg Language Conference, we would like to express a Special Miigwech from ATEG Board, Elders Senate and Youth. Firstly to all the Volunteers who took their time from the busy schedules they have and worked tirelessly during 4 days of the conference.
The coordinators: Will Morin (Youth Program), Liz Osawamick (Children’s Program), Roselynda Francis (Volunteers), and to Ron Yellowman (Cultural Component), Kimberley Hillman and Stella Rose Hogan (Registrations), Christine Pheasant, Mabel Lewis/Hill and Bev Peltier, (Registrations and Silent Auction), Bev Naokwegijig (Feast Head Cook).
Anishinaabemowin Teg is grateful for all the well wishes of all the welcome letters, AFN National Chief A-in-chit Atleo who supports Ateg endeavors of the hard work we do for sponsoring language Memorial Scholarships for children, youth and post secondary students. Thank you Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, the Mayor Debbie Amaroso of Sault Ste. Marie Canada and Mayor Anthony G. Bosbous of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for the welcome letters.
We are grateful for all who helped to make this conference a success and to our sponsor’s: Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve Chief and Council, Union of Ontario Indians, Noojimowin Teg, Alderville First Nation, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Mt. Pleasant, Baagwating Community Association and many others.
The Grand Opening Ceremony was the first highlight of the conference. Five Traditional Eagle Staffs were danced into the Circle. Eagle Staff Carriers: Union of Ontario Indians Deputy Grand Chief Glen Hare, Les Ailment (Sault Tribe), Grass Shipman (Three Fires), Jessie Kaboni and Alphonse Pitawanakwat (Anishinaabemowin-Teg), following all the welcome speeches. Joseph L. Eitrem Sault Tribe Tribal Chair greeted all to his Territorial Homeland of Baawating. Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana, ON welcomed everyone, as well as Deputy Grand Chief Glen Hare who explained the importance of our Language. It was indeed a pleasure to listen to the Keynote address presentation by Dr. Anton Treuer that followed after all the welcomes.
We wish to thank all Canada First Nations and the Tribes from the United States that have supported and sponsored Elders and participants to attend this 18th Annual Anishinaabemowin-Teg Language Conference.
Gratitude goes to the Funding Coordinator Peggy Monague of United Church of Canada Healing Fund for their grant that allowed funding to bring the Elders Gone AWOL performance (video and live) to the conference. It was a wonderful performance by the Elders of Wikwemikong. Thanks to Ron Berti and Debajehmujig staff.
Miigwech goes to all the exhibitors and vendors that have come to support our conference each year.
Acknowledgement and a heartfelt Gchi-miigwech goes to Cecil Pavlot, Sault Tribe Cultural Coordinator, and Les Ailment, who helped Ron Yellowman so much with lodge building and making sure we had firewood for the Sacred Fire. Miigwech to Kewadin, for allowing Ateg to have another lodge built here for the people. Special appreciation goes to our Fire Keepers, Sam Doyle, John Roterman, Mike Zimmerman and Karaka Osawamick.
To our Elder Gordon Waindubence, who did the Sunrise Ceremonies thorough-out the four days, for his teachings on the clan teachings. Gchi-miigwech for your guidance and supporting Ateg through the year.
One of our highlights of this conference was the Scholarship Awards Banquet. These students prepared their speeches and hearing all of them speaking in Anishinaabemowin shows that our efforts are enhancing our language. Miigwech goes to the Memorial Families for the monetary donations toward the awards for the Scholarship evening. Thanks to the Baawating Drum Bud Byron and singers who did the Grand Opening for the Scholarship Recipients and the closing song on Sunday.
Another highlight this year during the banquet evening was the Lifetime Achievement Awards. An award went to Violet McGregor-ba, which Susan Manitowabi accepted on behalf of the family. Violet-ba, a founding member of Anishinaabemowin Teg, Inc., had sat on the Elders Senate for 17 years. The other award went to Orien Corbiere-ba who also was a language teacher and on the Ateg Board and who had volunteered many times, contributing much to language preservation. Orien-ba’s family accepted this award. Anishinaabemowin Teg also inducted three Lifetime Members to Anishinaabemowin Teg as tribute to all their many years of service to this organization and the honorees were Elder Shirley Williams, Elder Josephine Pelletier, and another founding member, Isadore Toulouse.
Ateg Conference was honored again to have the Wikwemikong Hub Centre Encore. It was a pleasure watching these children’s speaking Anishinaabemowin.
Miigwech, to all the presenters who had taken their time out of their lives to do such excellent teachings of our language and culture. Geraldine King, Howard Webkamigad, Alphonse Pitawanakwat, Mary Pheasant, Verna Hardwick, Theresa Hoy, Kayla Gonyon, Elizabeth Tomaszycki and Howard Kimewon, Marilyn Debassige, Connie Hartviksen, Stanley Peltier, Michelle Saboo, James Shawana, Christine Sy, George Roy, Mark Quash, Reta Sands and Edwin Taylor, Jerry Otowadjiwan, Thecla Neganegijig, Marsha Traxler, Jennie Blackbird, Jo-Anne Day, Susan Carr and Bryan Loucks and Stephanie Gamble Morse.
For the first time at Kewadin, Anishinaabemowin Teg was able to enjoy the traditional feast held at the Dream Makers Theater. Thanks to Cecil Pavlot and Les Ailment for allowing the preparation of the traditional feast at Neganigiizhig Cultural Centre and also to Kewadin Hotel and Conference Staff for doing the transportation of food to Dream Makers Theater. Miigwech to the feast cooks and to Kewadin for donating the wild rice, potatoes and fish.
Admiration goes out to 13-year-old Jadyn Toulouse who spoke Anishinaabemowin elegantly and also translated in English to all that attended the breakfast on Friday Morning.
Gratitude goes to Kewadin Hotel Conference Staff for being the host for the last 12 years, much appreciation goes out the managers Stephanie, Todd, Kim, Barb and Julie and to all the workers.
A special mention of Anishinaabemowin Teg Management Agent Janis Fairbanks and board member Margaret Noori, for their dynamic efforts in putting a lot of work in organizing this conference. Also to Edward Fox who volunteered to help with the registrations. Sophie Corbiere from Ontario Cultural Foundation, who took in all the registration email and faxes. Also to website Manager Stacie Sheldon.
Miigwech goes to all entertainers that played through out and during the conference, Roger Daybutch, Cheyenne Saucier, Edwin Taylor and many more, but we must never forget our Elder Henry Peltier-ba who did his last songs on stage.
Thank you to the Sturgeon Bay Singers and to all the drums that came for Saturday’s social event and the dancers who enjoyed dancing all evening long.
Miigwech to the Media-people Brita Brookes, Perry McLeod (Shabogesic), and Gina Simon, who covered the events of a conference of this magnitude. Yes indeed, it is the largest Anishinaabemowin Teg Language Conference ever.
This conference had so many people in attendance and it truly was a "magical time" to do visiting and much more.
We are grateful for a successful conference.
We hope everyone enjoyed themselves and we encourage you to look forward to next year’s conference. The theme for next year is "Zaagtoodaa Tikamseying Neyaab: Let’s Love Our Crossing" (in honor of our leader TECUMSEH.)
President of Anishinaabemowin-Teg, Inc.