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Ojibwe language songs developed to keep language alive

Friday January 24, 2014

Lac Seul’s Percy Ningewance and his sister Patricia Ningewance are looking to keep Anishinabemowin alive through the launch of Biindigen, an Ojibwe language songs CD.

“I used to write some songs a long time ago, (so) Pat asked me if we should write some songs in Ojibwe,” Percy said. “I said sure and then Pat started writing the lyrics and I came up with the melodies.”

The Ojibwe language songs were performed by Percy, Rebecca Chartrand and Fiona Muldrew with musicians Martin Tuesday and Chuck Tyzih.

“Pat is a language instructor, so she wanted a product that she could give to the schools,” Percy said. “The songs are very repetitious so people can sing along.”

Percy said a couple of his songs, a blues song and a country and western song, had to be rewritten for the CD.

“Usually they are heart-breaking songs,” Percy said. “Somebody told us if you are going to sell it to schools, it’s a bit too much, so we had to rewrite those two songs.”
The CD is available from Percy or Patricia at 204-774-8007.

Patricia is well know for her Anishinabemowin books: Survival Ojibwe, Anishinaabemodaa:
Becoming a Successful Ojibwe Eavesdropper, Talking Gookum’s Language and Pocket Ojibwe.

She has also taught Introductory and Intermediate Ojibwe at the university level in Ontario and Manitoba and worked in Ojibwe language radio and television production.

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