Bayfield School Board Votes To Open Ojibwemowin Immersion Classroom

Red Cliff’s language revitalization efforts continue with the planned opening of an Ojibwemowin Kindergarten Classroom and Infant Immersion Classroom beginning Fall 2024

April 25, 2024 - The Bayfield School Board voted unanimously at its April 16 Special School Board Meeting to open an Ojibwemowin Immersion Kindergarten Classroom beginning Fall 2024, furthering language and cultural revitalization efforts between the Red Cliff Band and the Bayfield School District.

“Launching this Ojibwemowin Immersion Program at Bayfield School is a milestone in history and the next step in truly revitalizing our language, healing some of the trauma, and growing a healthy and thriving community,” said Red Cliff Chairwoman and Bayfield School Board President Nicole Boyd. “Reviving our language is key to the survival of our culture, and it feels so good to see our years of hard work and planning come to fruition. We want to thank everyone who has helped along the way.”

The decision to begin with a kindergarten immersion classroom is based on research and strong community support.

“Research shows that our youngest students are the best candidates for learning languages,” said Dr. Beth Manidoo Makwa Paap, Bayfield School District Administrator. “Children have the ability to cognitively absorb information in multiple languages that helps them develop into curious and skilled learners.”

The Tribe has been steadily implementing language and culture efforts in recent years, building upon previous efforts. In April 2020 the Red Cliff Tribal Council passed a resolution declaring Ojibwemowin as the official language of Gaa-Miskwaabikaang, followed by the Tribe’s Five-Year Language and Culture Comprehensive Plan being approved just one month later in May 2020.

In 2021, Red Cliff received a $900,000 grant from the Administration for Native Americans to create the 3-Year Ojibwemowin Teaching & Training Program in partnership with the School District, Midwest Indigenous Immersion Network (MIIN), and the Bad River Band. The goal of the program is to build fluent language teachers who could then teach Ojibwemowin as a career or job path. The Tribe is now onto its second cohort of six full-time language trainees funded by the Department of Education STEP and BIA Living Language grants totaling $3.4M.

“Immersion classrooms are proven to support academic and linguistic development, but they also foster students’ appreciation of Indigenous culture and values,” said Binesiikwe Edye Washington, Red Cliff Education Division Administrator, and founder of the Misaabekong Ojibwe Immersion Program in Duluth Public Schools. “Starting at such a young age is also proven to lead to overall higher academic achievement, advanced levels of language proficiency, and the strengthening of cultural identity.”

How Will Immersion Look at Red Cliff Early Childhood Center?
In Fall 2024 the Red Cliff Early Childhood Center (ECC) will launch an Ojibwemowin immersion program within the Waabooz Early Head Start Center Based classroom for up to eight infants ages 0-1. The ECC already embeds Ojibwemowin as part of its daily curriculum and family events, has had immersion student cohorts in previous years, and prioritizes within staff development goals. The Tribe is excited to have the resources and capacity to begin an immersion program again where our youngest learners will be taught and cared for by skilled teachers and Ojibwemowin speakers. Watch for further details on registration and information sessions very soon.

How Will Immersion Look at Bayfield School?
The Kindergarten Immersion program will provide an option for parents to enroll their children to receive all instruction in Ojibwemowin. All subjects and communication between students and teachers will be in Ojibwemowin.

The school district will be releasing information on child registration very soon and has posted vacancies for Immersion Teacher and Immersion Teachers’ Aide positions.

Ojibwemowin Opportunities for Community Members
Ongoing Ojibwemowin implementation includes programs open to all community members:
   -Language Table every Tuesday from 11 AM – Noon at Wonderstate Coffee in Bayfield
   -Language Table every Wednesday from 5:30-7:00 PM at the Cultural Grounds, 36750 Hwy 13
   -Moccasin Game Night & Potluck every Thursday from 5:00-8:00 PM at the Cultural Grounds
   -10-Week Ojibwe Language Course every Wednesday 9:00-10:30 AM at Legendary Waters through June 5, 2024
   -Sugarbush vocabulary resources and videos online at
   -Anishinaabemowin Gabeshiwin Language Camp scheduled for July 9-12, 2024 at Raspberry Campgrounds
   -MIIN offers many great resources and information at

“The Gaa-Miskwaabikaang community has repeatedly expressed the desire and need for language and culture opportunities and revitalization to be a priority,” said Chairwoman Boyd. “The Tribal Council is dedicated to ensuring our programs continue to offer these opportunities for the community.”

Learn more about Ojibwemowin in Red Cliff online at You’ll find updates on language tables and makizin game nights, phrases of the week, and links to online resources for all ages. Aho!

Bayfield School District Immersion Program updates and employment information can be found on the District’s website at