Grand council chief welcomes new language commissioner

Barbara Nolan

Wiiky member Barbara Nolan assumes role

M’CHIGEENG – Grand Council Chief Glen Hare, on behalf of the Anishinabek Nation, welcomed the new Anishinabek Nation language commissioner Barbara Nolan into the fold earlier this week.

“Mino giizhigaad! I am pleased to announce Barbara Nolan has accepted the appointment as the Anishinabek Nation Language Commissioner,” stated Grand Council Chief Glen Hare in an Anishinabek Nation release on Monday. “With the extraordinary times of COVID-19 impacting our First Nations, we are pleased to share such exciting news that she has decided to join the Anishinabek Nation.”

“As one of our key areas in Anishinaabe governance is language and culture, we are greatly looking forward to working with the language commissioner in the coming years and implement strategies going forward,” said Grand Council Chief Hare.

Barbara Nolan, a member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, who now resides in Garden River First Nation, has spent several decades working with a variety of organizations to revitalize Anishinaabemowin. She enjoys consulting with First Nations and Indigenous communities on effective development of language nests and immersion programs, as well as training Anishinaabemowin speakers in successful methods of immersion instruction, the release notes.

“We are currently in the midst of an inspiring period of healing and nation-building. Through language, we can connect with the rest of our culture. It is a way of having our identity whole again,” said Ms. Nolan. “I hope to contribute in a positive way to these efforts to reclaim our voice, our identity. Together, we can reclaim our language.” 

Ms. Nolan’s commitment and dedication to preserving and transferring Anishinaabemowin extend to the binoojii at the Garden River Child Care Centre where she offers part-time Anishinaabemowin immersion. Additionally, she carefully designed and produced the Nishnaabemdaa app, an Anishinaabemowin language app available for iOS and Android devices.

Grand Council Chief Hare added, “her role at the Anishinabek Nation, much like the language carriers in our communities, is critical and integral to language preservation as our language has been endangered since colonization. She carries with her accumulated knowledge and wisdom of many generations before us and will deeply enrich our knowledge and appreciation for our beautiful language.”