Nishnaabemwin Pane Immersion Program

Language Program Directory Information

Which Tribal/Indigenous community is your program/institution affiliated with?

Bay Mills Indian Community (Ojibwe, Anishinaabe)


How many staff members work for your program/institution?

6 members, with instructors Linda Trudeau (Lead Instructor), Mabel Lewis-Hill, and Frieda Lewis, and current first speaker teachers including Shirley Recollet, Mabel Lewis-Hill, and Barbara Nolan.


How long has your program/institution existed?

Since 2003 (originally a 2 year certificate, 840h, 14-credit program).


What is the contact information for your program/institution (e.g. mailing address, website, Facebook Page, etc.)?

Physical Address:

12214 W. Lakeshore Dr
Brimley, MI 49715 US
(906) 248-3354

BMCC Facebook



Please provide a brief description (approximately 5 sentences) about your program/institution.

This 4 and 6-year program withweekly immersion courses and the immersion weekends via both  in-person and on-line (Zoom) modalities is designed to facilitate acquisition of the Anishinaabe language by developing their ability to understand the content of fluent speakers' speech, respond to that speech appropriately, and produce an advanced level of spontaneous Anishinaabemwin speech. At the end of 3 years of full-time Pane  immersion, students will have approximately 1,890 listening hours (>90% comprehension). As adult learners, students are encouraged to speak when they are ready, not forced. Through games and activities, learners have opportunities to use the language and interact with speakers and other learners. Tuesday/Wednesday sessions are 3h, with the lead instructor beginning first with story, followed by a speaker, and then a third teacher (L2) doing speaking practice activities (Where Are Your Keys, Accelerated Second Language Acquisition methods, etc).


What are challenges your program/institution has faced?

Immersion over an extended period of time (6 years, year-round, 252 credits) with frequent meetings during the week and weekends is an immense time commitment. Many take one (1) class per semester rather than two. Along with weekend classes available, there is also directed study.


 What are existing projects your program/institution is working on?

We want to revive the Language Instructors Associate degree at state-level and are in the process of paperwork to Michigan Department of Education to place a formal streamlined endorsement process in place for language teachers.


What are the long-term goals for your program/institution (1 year – 5 years from now)?

By summer 2021 we hope to have finished videotaping of lessons for families in the communities to be distributed to Boys and Girls Club, barring further delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to restarting in-person / face-to-face sessions. We are giving consideration to converting all classes to six credits as 8 credit weekend classes are long and difficult for both teachers and students; the 36 credit 'remainder' may be used to add 2-credit lab classes to pivot towards greater speech production inclusion.


From your perspective, how do you view the language activity in your tribe?

Language use and activity is increasing with groups from Boys and Girls Club incorporating language, and public school students being taught the language by state-endorsed L2 teachers. However the language is still not widely used.