Bringing Ojibwe Culture and Language Into the Classroom


Maya Chacaby

Glendon College

Maya Chacaby, a professor at Glendon, uses storytelling, drumming and a speed-dating card game to bring indigenous culture and language into her classroom.  Inspired to have her students get to know and talk with each other while preserving Ojibwe or Anishinaabemowin language among primarily non-Indigenous students, Chacaby’s class brings engaged learning to life.  Students participate in a game called Biskaabiiyaang, invented by Chacaby, learning a story set on Turtle Island (North America) and progressing through their card game as they acquire more complex language skills.

This novel approach to engaged teaching differs from the traditional ways that Indigenous languages are taught in universities or by Elders.  Students find themselves drawn into the story, find ways to improve their language skills and deepen their understanding of Indigenous communities.

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