Bemidji's Ojibwe Language Project

More than 180 sites in the Bemidji area post bilingual signage in English and Ojibwe, an innovative idea that is good for race relations. It makes American Indians (mostly Ojibwe) feel more welcome and respected in the community, it helps the White Man learn a little bit more about the area before they arrived, it is a conversation starter between Indians and non-Indians and the tourists eat it up.  

Of note places that post Ojibwe/English signage (it is very wide in ideas and words but for example restrooms are posted Ininiwag/Men and Ikwewag/Women)  Bemidji State University, State Park, City of Bemidji, Beltrami County, Sanford Health Center, Sanford Event Center are just a few of the sites that post the bilingual signage.  

Some have said it has helped to revitalize the language, and even ease tensions so that more Natives are employed in the area.  Bemidji is at the center of Minnesota's three largest Indian tribes, Red Lake Nation, White Earth Ojibwe, and Leech Lake Ojibwe.  

Bemidji is an Ojibwe word short for Bemijigamaag which means lake with cross waters referring to the Mississippi, of which Bemidji is the first city.  Bemidji's Ojibwe Language Project was the cover story on the national publication, Indian Country Today. 

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Location

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Latitude: 47.477371 Longitude: -94.88916 Elevation: 1355 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Michael Meuers

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History of Area

We are on your list of cities to visit, we have a long history with the Ojibwe going back to the mid 1700's and the Dakota before that

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