My mother is half Anishinaape and half Scottish. We children are therefore one-quarter Anishinaape and one-quarter Irish and one-half Scottish, if you divided up the blood parts in us.
Mom’s first language is Ojibwe. Her mom spoke only Ojibwe and her father spoke only English but they managed to learn enough of each other’s languages to get along. We children were not taught both languages. My dad thought it would be too confusing, so we were raised in English. Mom did teach us some Ojibwe and I have always wanted to learn more. But I am too lazy and it is not easy, so I just continue on as I am with what I know.
I recently bought a little phrase book that is so cute. (I had purchased one before for my brother when we both became Status Indians under Bill C-3 a few years ago.) When I’m with my mom I always ask her how to say things. She can still remember her language perfectly. I hope that the dementia does not take that from her.
Yesterday, I took my little book over to her house with me and we spent time together laughing at me trying to read the phrases to her. It’s difficult to pronounce words correctly; you could end up saying something totally different. It was fun; I’ll do it again.
Kathy nindizhinikaaz. My name is Kathy.