The Language Warrior's Manifesto

manifesto coverHow to Keep Our Languages Alive No Matter the Odds

by Anton Treuer

This Global Read was held on Wednesday July 21 2021 at 8 a.m. Pacific Time.

Click here to watch the recording!

Across North America, dedicated language warriors are powering an upswell, a resurgence, a revitalization of indigenous languages and cultures. Through deliberate suppression and cultural destruction, the five hundred languages spoken on the continent before contact have dwindled to about 150. Their ongoing survival depends on immediate, energetic interventions.

Anton Treuer has been at the forefront of the battle to revitalize Ojibwe for many years. In this impassioned argument, he discusses the interrelationship between language and culture, the problems of language loss, strategies and tactics for resisting, and the inspiring stories of successful language warriors. He recounts his own sometimes hilarious struggle to learn Ojibwe as an adult, and he depicts the astonishing success of the language program at Lac Courte Oreilles, where a hundred children now speak Ojibwe as their first language.

This is a manifesto, a rumination, and a rallying cry for the preservation of priceless languages and cultures.

About the Author

antonDr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Executive Director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University. He has a B.A. from Princeton University, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language and author of 9 books.

Dr. Treuer has sat on many organizational boards, including the White Earth Land Recovery Project, Sanford/MeritCare Health System, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Dr. Treuer has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships from many organizations, including the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

About the Host


Ron (Muqsahkwat) Corn, Jr. is a member of the Menominee Nation, a nation with a history in what is now called Wisconsin, that goes back farther than any other modern group of people. Ron takes pride in being called a language warrior, and over the course of his life he has fought to maintain, preserve and now revitalize the unique dialect of Algonquin language.

As groups continue to grow, it only matters if traditional culture and heritage teachings are honored and it has been Ron's great struggle to innovate and develop these skills to pass on to other members of the proud nation of the Menominee people.

Ron was invited to speak at TEDx in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. You can watch his talk, Native American Culture - Language: the Key to Everything, here.


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