|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
�Nuhguhmowinum� is a compilation of Ojibwa hymns in the language of the Anishinabek people of Michigan and Canada.
April 22, 2004
Tenn. (UMNS) — A new CD of Native American hymns will help save a
traditional language from extinction, producers say.
September, with financial assistance from United Methodist
Communications, members of the Ojibwa people came together to record
“Nuhguhmowinum,” a compilation of Ojibwa hymns in the language of the
Anishinabek people of Michigan and Canada. The Anishinabek or “original
people” include more than 150 bands of Ojibwa people.
live during the annual camp meeting of the decades-old Michigan Area
Indian Workers Conference, the compact disc “is historical as well as
educational,” said the Rev. Little Eagle Sayles, pastor of PaWaTing
MaGedWin United Methodist Church, Grand Rapids, Mich., and one of the
many voices on the recording.
conference is a gathering of Native American congregations who come
together for training and worship. They express concerns, share ministry
stories and arrange funding for native ministries.
to the Rev. Jerry DeVine, ministry consultant for the United Methodist
West Michigan Annual (regional) Conference, there is a vital movement
among many Native American tribes to retain and pass on a living
than half of the languages once spoken in North America have been lost.
“Language immersion is a growing strength for the rebuilding and
renewing of identity,” DeVine said.
were lost as Indian boarding schools, operated by Christian
denominations, punished Native American children for speaking their
tribal languages, said Ray Buckley, director of the Native People
Communication Office at United Methodist Communications. The
result, he added, was a decline in teaching the language and in some
cases, the inability to sing tribal hymns — including some written on
the Trail of Tears.
Ojibwa hymn CD is the second effort of a Native American Hymn
Preservation program of the Native People Communications Office.
Buckley’s office also has recorded hymns from Montana, Alaska and the
Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. The first project,
“With Our Voices,” was recorded live at the 2001 annual session of the
Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference and includes Ponca, Kiowa,
Cherokee, Euchee, Creek, Seminole, Comanche and Potawatomi
also said that United Methodist Communications allowed the hymn
projects to be copyrighted in the names of the Native American groups,
which sell the CDs for economic development and continued communication.
is also incredible that we are beginning to recognize Christian hymns
as contributions of native cultures after 500 years of discipleship,” he
said. “It is not just a gift of language, but of how native people
experience the Gospel in faith communities and personal expression.
CD of Ojibwa hymns represents the testimony of native people, but even
more, the recognition that our native cultures are not only acceptable
but also joyful to God,” Buckley explained.
who is the point of contact for the CD distribution, calls the
recording a “way to pass on our culture, our values, our communities. We
are Christians who are Native Americans. We are Native Americans who
have chosen to follow the Jesus way because it is consistent with who we
are and what we believe.”
Native Americans have recorded many Christian CDs in English, the
Ojibwa hymn CD is the “only Christian Native CD in the original language
of the Anishinabek,” Sayles said.
has a long heritage of the Anishinabek, which also means “people of
this place,” according to DeVine. Growth and the need to expand
geographically brought complimentary trades and evolved into four groups
or bands — the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwa, Ottawa and
Potawatomi — with related language with dialect differences. He said
most of the language retained is the Ojibwa in the northern regions of
Michigan and Lower Canada, as well as across the northern Great Lakes
into Minnesota and Wisconsin.
$15 CD is available by contacting Sayles at PaWaTing MaGedWin United
Methodist Church, 1005 Evergreen, SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507; by
calling (616) 241-0007; or by writing to LittleEagle7@comcast.net or LittleEagle7@sbcglobal.net. Checks should be made payable to West Michigan Conference with “IWC” on the memo line.
News media can contact Linda Green at (615)742-5470 Nashville, Tenn. or E-mail: email@example.com.