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'I am ecstatic': Area chiefs applaud LU's move to include Anishinaabemowin on school signage

School's signage changed from bilingual to trilingual over the summer
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One of the new trilingual signs at Laurentian University. (Supplied)

Anishinaabemowin speakers have given Laurentian University a new look over the summer, translating the new trilingual signs throughout campus. 

Starting this semester, all members of the community will be greeted by signs in English, French and Anishinaabemowin, the Indigenous language spoken in the region.

The change in signage is part of the university's Imagine 2023 Strategic Plan, which aims to make Laurentian the school of choice for northern, Francophone, and Indigenous students from across the world.

The university thanked Indigenous studies professor Mary Anne Corbiere for her hard work on this project, as well as for her efforts in keeping Anishinaabemowin strong over the past 25 years.

As a faculty member in the Indigenous Studies program at the University of Sudbury, she continues to be a linchpin for revitalizing the language, said a press release.

The university also thanked Dominic and Brenda Beaudry of Akinomaagewin Consulting, as well as Isadore Toulouse. Carole Perreault provided crucial logistics on the project, the school said.

The speakers of Anishinaabemowin play key roles in ensuring that the language thrives and remains vital, said the press release. 

“We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be adequately repaid,” the university said.

In the release, Laurentian University said it is a priority for the school to honour the 169-year-old Robinson-Huron Treaty.

The university is located on Anishinaabe territory, particularly of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.

“We also pay our respects to Wahnapitae First Nation. Our institution is proud to honour the treaty in word and action,” said the press release.

“With Laurentian University sitting on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Territory, I am ecstatic to know that the history and language of the Anishinawbek people is being recognized throughout the university through trilingual signs,” said Atikameksheng Anishinawbek Chief Valerie Richer, in a press release.

“We are proud of our new signage,” said Laurentian University president Robert Haché. 

“Our tricultural mandate is always top of mind, and appropriately representing this across our campus is an important step. Promoting engagement with and learning of Anishinaabemowin is a priority identified in our strategic plan and I look forward to our continuing support of this.”

“It is uplifting for our First Nation to see the Anishnaabemowin language recognized and used at Laurentian University,” said Larry Roque, Chief of the Wahnapitae First Nation.

“I have not only received positive comments from our members at Wahnapitae First Nation, but also from other First Nations as well.”