Celebrating MN’s native culture

The Ojibwe-English dictionary is a fine example of University research.

The University of Minnesota took a stride in the right direction when the department of American Indian studies recently launched an online dictionary of the Ojibwe language. This project documents and preserves an important language that is in danger of being lost and forgotten.

The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary is online, making it easy to search through; it also offers a speaking tool to better understand the pronunciation of words. This online Ojibwe-English dictionary is not only a step in the right direction because it documents a language but because it encourages people to learn the language as well.

The writers of the new dictionary included 30,000 entries, according to the Pioneer Press. This number is significantly higher than the 7,000 entries in a 1995 dictionary of the Ojibwe language.

Recently, John Nichols, University professor and co-author of the 1995 dictionary, worked with the American Indian studies department chair in order to rewrite the updated version and use technology for a better outcome.

The updated and more accessible dictionary documents the Ojibwe language and culture with more than just definitions, as it includes material from the Historical Society. Photographs, writings and drawings are included to share the culture beyond just words.

The Department of American Indian Studies’ innovative creation of culture and definitions is exactly what the University should be doing with its resources and brainpower. This project should be an example that sparks similar initiatives in order to document and share important cultures. The Ojibwe-English dictionary is a fine example of University research.