Indigenous Education Fund Supports Native Language Revitalization is proud to announce the official launch of our Indigenous Language Fund. The purpose of this fund is to support Native-focused education in Indigenous communities. With the guidance of our advisors Dr. Anton Treuer and Carly Bad Heart Bull, two Native education experts, we identified Indigenous language revitalization as an urgent need. 

Indigenous language programs in schools keep Indigenous languages alive, and by extension, Indigenous cultures flourishing.  Donations to the Indigenous Language Fund will help Native language immersion programs purchase specialty supplies. 

Why is it important to support Indigenous language revitalization? 

“If we wait 50 years we will have lost literally thousands of languages. It’s that simple. Right now, there are 7,000 languages spoken on planet Earth and about 2,500 of them are severely endangered. And many of the others are in varying states of danger. Of those 7,000 languages, only 100 are actively widely taught at colleges and universities.”

– Dr. Anton Treuer

Indigenous languages are the carriers of culture and history, and are an essential part of Native communities. As more Native elders grow older and pass away at higher rates, it becomes even more essential that their knowledge of their native language and culture is passed onto young people. 

Dr. Anton Treuer is a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, author, language advocate, and advisor to the Indigenous Language Fund. Watch him talk about his experiences and explain why Indigenous language revitalization is urgent today. 

“A really successful language revitalization effort does not happen in isolation. There are many, many different factors that will either make it a success or a failure., through its Indigenous language fund, connects those who want to support those efforts financially with those who are doing the work so that they can succeed.”

– Dr. Anton Treuer

Indigenous language revitalization is essential to preserve, as Dr. Treuer said, “different ways of knowing.” Your donation to the Indigenous Education Fund will help Native-focused schools ensure that their cultural traditions, knowledge, and language are passed down to the next generations. You can join us in this critical work by making your donation.

Programs the Indigenous Language Fund currently supports

While we hope to extend this fund to more Indigenous language immersion schools and schools that support Native communities, we are piloting the Indigenous Language Fund at two schools in the Northern Plains region. 

Waadookodaading – Ojibwe Immersion Program

Hayward, Wisconsin

At Waadookodaading, preschool through third grade students are taught all of their school lessons using the Ojibwe language.

Waadookodaading, “a place where people help each other,” is part of an international movement that seeks to revitalize Native languages, many of which are in danger of never being spoken again.

Language alone does not convey or connect people to culture. It is a medium through which culture can be learned. Ojibwemowin, the Ojibwe language, is a language of action. In the Ojibwe worldview, there are two ways to learn, by observing and by doing. At Waadookodaading, the staff, students, and community have an opportunity to learn in this way.

Bdote Learning Center – Dakota and Ojibwe Immersion Programs

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The founders of Bdote Learning Center conceptualized a language immersion, place-based charter school that would not only engage children, but their families, and other community members. Bdote was created out of a need for language restoration and as a way to engage Native students that were being lost in other schools not reflecting their identities. The name Bdote Learning Center was chosen because “Bdote” is the Dakota word for the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers believed to be the origin place of Minnesota’s first peoples.

Advisors to the Indigenous Language Fund

Dr. Anton Treuer

Author, Speaker, Trainer, Professor

Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 18 books. His equity, education, and cultural work has put him on a path of service around the region, the nation, and the world.

Carly Bad Heart Bull

Executive Director, Native Ways Federation

Carly Bad Heart Bull is Bdewakantunwan Dakota/Muskogee Creek and a citizen of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. She came to Native Ways Federation from the Bush Foundation, where she served as the Native Nations Activities Manager working with Indigenous nations and communities since 2014. Her service area encompassed Minnesota, North and South Dakota and the 23 Native nations within the region.