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Anishinaabemowin instructor says language brings meaning to Earth Day

Kenny Pheasant works for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, teaching Anishinaabemowin.
Dan Wanschura
/
Interlochen Public Radio

For Kenny Pheasant, Earth Day is an especially important day. His appreciation for the earth is tied to the history of his Anishianaabe culture, and he says knowing his culture comes from speaking his original language. 

As a child, Kenny recalls being taught Anishinaabe history and culture by older men who didn’t speak English. 

“They told me the creation story in my native language – Anishinaabemowin. It’s a lot more powerful in the native language. It brings out a lot more meaning to why we’re here, and the earth.”

Kenny said many people don’t know that story today, and that’s why he’s determined to teach Anishinaabemowin to as many people as he can.

“I’m humbled because I get to walk on Mother Earth and enjoy her presence,” he said. 

“The only thing I can say about me giving back to her is, I’m using my language. I’m expressing who she is, using my language. It’s what I was meant to do.”

Kenny Pheasant works for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, teaching Anishinaabemowin.