Omāēqnomenēw-wēqnaesen (the Menomini language) is a distinct Algonquin language that has been utilized by our Menomini people for thousands of years to understand and interact with the world around us, and express our ideas, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and emotions. Over the last century and a half our unique language, lifeways and identity were purposefully targeted for eradication by foreign government and religious institutions. Boarding schools specifically served the purpose of placing indigenous children in an English immersion environment that resulted in the forced indoctrination of the foreign language and associated western world views.
Despite the unthinkable adversity our language and lifeways have faced, and through the resilience and perseverance of our ancestors, they have partially remained intact. We have a long road ahead continuing to address the long-lasting impacts of those challenges, and Menomini yoU seeks to be part of the community healing by developing the foundation that can support long-term language and lifeways revitalization and renormalization.
Today, due to the alarmingly low number of first- and second-language speakers, our language is a highly endangered language at risk of becoming extinct. Because our language only exists within our community, we understand that the future of our language depends on the collective actions we are willing to take as a community. Menomini yoU will be there, and we invite yoU in to complete the circle.