May 27, 2012

Bemidji Incorporates Ojibwe into City’s Signs and Daily Life


Bemidji incorporates Ojibwe into city’s signs and daily life
By Cynthia Boyd
May 21, 2012

Tourists visiting Bemidji this summer may pick up a few words of a “foreign” language.

That’s because the first city on the Mississippi River way north in Minnesota may be the only town off a reservation trying to incorporate the area’s indigenous Ojibwe language into daily life.

Words such as “boozhoo,’’ an Ojibwe word for “welcome” and many other Native American terms crop up around town, in an appliance store, the local hospital, the convention center, a local coffee shop, and this spring in the public schools.

It’s a symbol of respect and you can do it for practically nothing, but “it speaks volumes,’’ says Bemidji resident Michael Meuers, who with Rachelle Houle kick-started Bemidji’s Ojibwe Language Project, an off shoot of Shared Vision, a Bemidji group working for friendlier relations between American Indians and the majority culture.

Read the full article in English at or in Ojibwe at

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