Best of Neighborhood News 9/27: Bell Museum exhibit features Ojibwe and Dakota voiceovers

At the newly renovated and reopened Bell Museum, the voices of Ojibwe and Dakota children inform about natural science dioramas, depicting nature scenes from around Minnesota. The inclusion of these voices was intentional, hoping to showcase the persisting existence of these languages in the face of cultural destruction through colonization. “They chose the words for the conversation,” said Cindy Ward-Thompson, Bdote Learning Center founder and current director. “We used a lot of children in the process because we wanted to show others that Dakota and Ojibwe are still vibrant spoken languages and that the language is alive in children as well as elders.”

Read more at The Circle. Creative writing space uplifts Black and POCI voices

Black Lines Matter is a project of Black Table Arts, an organization dedicated to creating spaces for Black and POCI individuals to have their creative expression centered and uplifted. Continue Reading

Yiddish: It’s not just for old people

When people hear the word “Yiddish,” images of the Holocaust, Chassidic Jews or even Tevya from Anatevka may come to mind. In its prime, Yiddish was a language spoken by millions of Jews. However, its popularity, and perhaps necessity has died along with various immigration waves and Hitler’s destruction of European Jewry. Continue Reading

Spanish and English: Joyce Preschool succeeds in two languages

As more and more evidence piles up about the importance of kids getting a head start to their education before kindergarten, the spotlight is on what preschool programs can offer students. Joyce Dual Immersion Preschool offers not only the basics kids need to enter kindergarten, but an added focus on language, with a program aimed at supporting both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking children. Joyce has national certification and a four-star rating from Parent Aware. The school was founded in 1966 by a woman named Ruth Helen Marks, from Joyce United Methodist Church. She wanted a program to serve the many children living in the neighborhood who couldn’t afford preschool. In 1994, in response to the growing Latino population in the community, head teacher Sharon Dill changed the program’s structure into a dual immersion approach, with the curriculum taught in both Spanish and English to students from both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking backgrounds.Today, the program serves about one-third native Spanish speakers, one-third bilingual speakers, and one-third English speakers. Half the teachers are native Spanish speakers. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | “Official” English is official nonsense

The huge debate, flap, and consternation sweeping the country, making English the “official” language of various locales, states, and the nation (over 87% favor this proposal) is not only irrelevant, but also mostly nonsense.  And, there are a number of reasons why. Starting with the most obvious, the entire process seems to be a solution in search of a problem.  The fact is no real problem even exists.  Though our constitution does not call for an “official” language, currently 82% of all Americans call English their native language; and 96% of all residents of our nation claim to speak English “well”.  This leaves few of us who are not English speaking at all – and as past history would suggest, most of those are already striving to learn the language, if they intend to live, work, and participate in our nation’s culture. Additionally, 30 states, and many other government locales, already have passed laws making English, what they designate, as their “official” language. (As a side note, those who have an “official” language have no better governance than those who do not). Continue Reading