MILLE LACS RESERVATION, Jan. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (MLBO), a sovereign and federally recognized American Indian tribe, has partnered with Rosetta Stone’s Endangered Languages Program (ELP), to record and preserve the Ojibwe language and Mille Lacs dialect. Through the initiative, the Mille Lacs Band and ELP have utilized tribal members’ knowledge and authentic cultural resources to create a comprehensive set of Rosetta Stone lessons in Ojibwe. Rosetta Stone Ojibwe is an original MLBO product, and is free for all Band members and descendants.
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s roots in Minnesota date back to the mid-1700s when it established itself in the region around Mille Lacs Lake. But throughout the next century, non-Indian settlers expanded west and attempted to remove tribal members from the lands they had occupied for generations. Many Mille Lacs Band children were forced to attend government-run boarding schools, forbidden from speaking their language or practicing their cultural teachings.
As a result, generations of Mille Lacs Band members were deprived of their cultural identity, and the Ojibwe language became critically endangered. As part of the Band’s commitment to revitalizing the language, educating the public about Ojibwe culture, and providing holistic support to its members, the Mille Lacs Band collaborated with Rosetta Stone to develop Ojibwe language learning lessons.
The lessons feature Ojibwe community members, videos and illustrations that teach vocabulary and grammar in an engaging and effective way. Rosetta Stone’s speech recognition engine, TruAccent, compares learners’ pronunciation to that of native Ojibwe speakers to help students fine-tune their skills.
The Mille Lacs Band has first access rights to Rosetta Stone Ojibwe, and the lessons are free for its members and descendants. Learners can access lessons anytime, anywhere on iOS and Android mobile devices, or desktop computers. Band members can apply for the program and receive a QR code to sign up through Aanjibimaadizing, a division of the Mille Lacs Band’s Department of Administration.
“As Anishinaabe people, our language was given to us by the creator; learning that language helps us connect with our culture and live our lives in a good way,” said Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin. “This partnership with Rosetta Stone is important because it will make learning Ojibwe more accessible to Band members and others, and will help preserve our culture for generations to come.”
“We often think of languages as what we speak or write, but overlook how they provide priceless insight into cultures. Indigenous languages are becoming endangered at an alarming rate, and many Native Americans are at risk of losing a vital part of their heritage,” said Paul Mishkin, CEO of IXL Learning, Rosetta Stone’s parent company. “Our collaboration with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has created resources that support the revitalization of the tribe’s language, help pass down knowledge to the next generation of members and expose the wider public to the Band’s rich culture.”
The mission of the Endangered Languages Program
Across the globe, children in countless cultures are losing the languages of their parents and grandparents. In fact, as many as 50 to 90 percent of the world’s 6,800 languages may be extinct within this century. As each new generation becomes more isolated from its past, ancestral languages slip further out of reach. To stem this loss of knowledge, the Rosetta Stone Endangered Languages Program works with Indigenous groups to preserve cultural assets with software that is specifically designed to revitalize at-risk languages. Learn more about the Endangered Languages Program and its partners here.
About the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
The Mille Lacs Reservation is located in east-central Minnesota and is the perpetual home of the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (www.millelacsband.com). More than 2,300 of the Band’s 4,700 members live within reservation boundaries. The Band supports its members with a variety of services for economic, social, and cultural advancement, including health services, early childhood and youth centers, and economic development planning.
About Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is dedicated to changing lives through the power of language education. The company’s immersive learning experiences help people build fluency in 25 languages at home, in schools, and in workplaces around the world. The platform’s Dynamic Immersion method allows users to learn quickly and intuitively, and advanced speech recognition technology helps perfect their pronunciation. Through Rosetta Stone, learners develop the skills and confidence to communicate and make deeper connections with people from all walks of life. Rosetta Stone joined the IXL Learning family of brands in 2021.