New immersive camp aims to preserve Algonquin language

A group of Algonquin grandmothers have launched an immersive cultural and language camp this weekend to teach youth about their traditions and history.

2-week camp is a long-time dream of several Algonquin grandmothers

Rose Wawatie Beaudoin (right), Shannon Chief (centre) and her daughter Kaylan (left) stand inside the elders' lodge at the Anishnabe Odinewin Project. (In Town and Out )

A group of Algonquin grandmothers have launched an immersive cultural and language camp this weekend to teach youth about their traditions and history.

The Anishnabe Odinewin Project brings dozens of youth from Algonquin communities together to learn from elders and the land over the next two weeks.

The project's ultimate aim is to preserve the Algonquin language.

"It's about sharing the teachings that were put together by our grandmothers," said camp organizer Shannon Chief. 

"[These] teachings [have] been taken away [from] our people through residential schools [and] through the long process of assimilation," she told CBC Radio's In Town And Out.

A long-time dream 

At the camp, which is located on Algonquin territory not far from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation and Maniwaki, Que., elders and volunteers have been hard at work, constructing wigwams and lodges.

This weekend, youth will begin learning about Algonquin culture, traditions and ceremonies. 

Anishinaabe Elder Rose Wawatie Beaudoin told In Town And Out that she hopes the camp will help young people reconnect with the land and mother earth.  

"My hope is [that] we do get a lot of kids to be interested in their culture. Because once we are gone, who's going to teach and pass on this knowledge and traditional way of life?" she said. 

"I'm going to make sure they sit and listen and take part."

CBC Radio's In Town and Out