Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Ojibwe People's Dictionary

An image demonstrating the many layers of the Ojibwe People's Dictionary.

An Endangered Language Comes to Life Online

If you toss aside your idea of a traditional dictionary, and instead envision a multi-layered, multi-dimensional, online collection of Ojibwe language, culture, documents and artifacts, then you have imagined the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary.

“We are bringing together more than just a dictionary,” said Ojibwe History Specialist Brenda Child.

Users of the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary will be able to click on a word or sentence and hear them spoken by Ojibwe elders. Entries in the dictionary will be linked to images, sound, and text resources on Ojibwe culture.

“The whole crux of the project is listening to voices. They give it life,” said Project Head John Nichols. 

Nearly all fluent speakers of Ojibwe are over 65.  The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary is designed to preserve and revitalize the language and also make Ojibwe cultural resources more accessible. 

The Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota have partnered to create the dictionary with $479,481 from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  They envision it as an invaluable tool not only for speakers and students of the language, scholars and researchers, but for anybody who can log on to the internet.

“It’s free and accessible to everybody,” Child said.

See Project Details

This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.