Language warriors; Leaders in the Ojibwe language revitalization movement

Richard, Sr. A. Gresczyk
Educational Policy and Administration, University of Minnesota
December, 2011


This dissertation sought to find out about the Ojibwe language revitalization movement and its leaders. Twenty-one language warriors were asked to participate in this dissertation study and were interviewed twice more for an hour each. I gave them tobacco according to Ojibwe tradition, explained the purpose of my study and asked them to help me. Qualitative methods were followed. The Ojibwe language warriors described perspectives that are held by Ojibwes and non-Ojibwes regarding the Ojibwe language. They identified what conditions have inspired the Ojibwe language revitalization movement and the impact that it has had and is having on reservation communities and urban areas. The Ojibwe language warriors described their backgrounds and educational paths and identified what has been relevant in their education to the work they do now. They identified sources of inspiration, why they care about the Ojibwe language, and helpful resources and strategies. They described their experiences, their opportunities, barriers, and sacrifices, and their hopes and plans. The Ojibwe language warriors described ways that they develop other language warriors, what advice they have for them, where they will come from, and how they motivate others to speak Ojibwe. They described which leadership styles they preferred. They spoke about what knowledge, success, and power meant to them and what differences they perceive there are in Ojibwe and non-Native leadership. They identified leadership strategies, challenges, and their future tasks. Hopefully, this dissertation will be helpful to educational settings, tribal and state governments, funding agencies, and to other language warriors.