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Proposal Defense: Adam Haviland
November 25, 2013 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Anisinaabemtaadwin: The Intersections of Language, Identity, and the
Creation of Belonging in Anishinaabeg Communities
November 25, 2013 341 Baker Hall, 2-4 p.m.
In the Great Lakes, particularly in Michigan, the boundaries between rural reservation and urban Native communities are becoming blurred. Many Reservation communities in the state are in close proximity to urban areas, and are interwoven with them socially, historically and economically. These Native spaces are often comprised of people from various communities who migrate between multiple locals and who express identity in multiple and complex ways. While they may come from different places, these urban communities are united by ties of kinship and Native identity. For individuals engaged in these movements, heritage language use creates community and frames identity through a shared sense of value within the discourse of Language revitalization, and the ideology that it is central to the continuance of identity and culture (Baloy 2011). However, while it is seen by many as vital for the continuances of identity and as a carrier of culture and worldview, most people only have a basic understanding and ability to use the language and English is the primary means of communication. Thus while language is important, it is not seen as necessary as a primary or even secondary communicative system, but rather as an ideological and symbolic marker of belonging (Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer 1998). It is therefore important to examine the role of language in Native communities and to clarify the ideological influences that underlie relationships between language, culture and identity in Native communities (Kroskirty 2009). Investigating these ideological influences and relationships and how individuals use language within intersecting and multiple ways of belonging, across generational, social and spatial networks is important to the larger goals of language revitalization. Through interviews and focus groups with members of the Lansing MI area Native community, I will examine whether language defines and is part of Anishinaabeg identity or if it exists rather as an ideological disposition, used by individuals and communities to create a sense of belonging.