Letter to the Editor
The following letter was written by Margaret Noori in response to the disappointing articles about University of Michigan athletes in the Ann Arbor News.
Until recently, when we lost our honored elder, Hap McCue, the University of Michigan had more instructors than any other Ojibwe program in the nation. We still have the highest number of students, and an award-winning website, www.ojibwe.net, where a recording of Hap teaching class is posted. Students are most definitely being introduced to a modern indigenous language and I am proud to say I teach Ojibwe at Michigan.
Students from all majors, minors, and ethnicities join our classes. Only 34% of our students are athletes. They are working toward degrees in Engineering, Music, Anthropology, Literature, Linguistics, Biology, Chemistry and Business. Many are heritage speakers learning the language of their ancestors. They are curious, respectful, out-of-the-ordinary students who want to learn the language of the people who stood on this ground centuries ago.
Fifteen years ago, when I had a class with Hap, he became a friend and inspiration. He kept the Ojibwe language and culture alive on campus. Most of all, he inspired and invited others to help. In Fall Hap and I welcomed Howard Kimewon, who joined our team and continues to raise the expectations of fluency.
This year, as part of a 140 point grammar test, students were asked to recite Hail to the Victors which ends "aapchigwa niishiiwag niiganzijig," reminding them that the U of M does provide an education that can help them be "the leaders and best."
Margaret Noori, PhD
2013 Noongwa e-Anishinaabemjig