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Nimkii Aazhibikong (pronounced Nim-key Ah-zh-ih-bih-coo-ng) is a place where youth and Elders come to connect to the land, each other and to pass down the language and traditional knowledge to the next generations.
Nimkii Aazhibikong means Village of Thunder Mountain. It’s the name given by Elders to a year-round Ojibway Art, Culture and Language Revitalization Camp being built by a community of youth, Elders and organizers located north of Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada within traditional Anishinaabeg territory.
Nimkii Aazhibikong is an independent Indigenous led camp that is focused on connecting young people with elders for arts, language and cultural land-based teachings. Guided by elders, it is also a camp for cultural resurgence of sustainable Indigenous practices.
The camp was started in June 2017. So far we have built five cabins, a cook house, several storage sheds and a main 'lodge' for warmer weather gatherings, and we have done it all without any government funding. We have been able to do all of this through crowd-sourced funding, contributing our own funds and lots of hard work.
We have a vision for Nimkii Aazhibikong. That it will be a place where people can come to learn the language and to freely create art and learn traditional Anishinaabe (Ojibway) skills on the land in a community setting. That it will also be a place where regional First Nations groups can come to use the space for their various land based activities, and to have access to all the spaces free of charge. We believe in building up communities and working to strengthen others by providing what we can for their initiatives.
THIS YEAR we are focused on raising funds to build a Language / Art Studio, which will be centralized space where people can gather to have language lessons and to create art.
Picture if you will, a large open concept space approx. 60' x 35' with a lot natural light coming through the windows. Along one wall are shelves filled with various language resources and art supplies. In one end, a canoe is being built and a few people are carving the 'ribs' for it while the birch bark is being soaked in a big tub. In the other end of the space there are people are beading, or painting. One of the grandmas has her quilting frame up and a few people are sitting around helping her to quilt. Other people outside are scraping a moosehide. A young person who has never tried doing a lino cut print or painting on canvas is given the materials to try it out and someone is helping them to make prints. On another day, we are sitting at the tables and one of the language teachers is giving us lessons or we are playing language games. In one corner, someone is recording one of the Elders and creating language resource materials. On all the walls, words are written in the language that are relevant to land based and traditional activities. On yet another day, a group from a nearby First Nation comes to visit and borrows the space for their own language workshops. All of this will be free of charge. The art supplies will be available for people to use free of charge so that a young person can be free to experiment with materials without needing to go to the expense of buying their start up supplies which can be prohibitive. The space is a community space where learning, sharing and creating is encouraged and nurtured.
We believe that learning our language is one of the key components to living a good life and contributes to our Nations being healthy and thriving. We also believe in providing opportunities for people to explore in the arts and that restoring or supporting the continuation of land based arts practices are also part of what makes our Nations whole and well.
This is why we are asking for support to help us build this space.
Nimkii Aazhibikong is run entirely by volunteers and committed learners. 100% of all the funds will be used for the building of the space.
Nimkii Aazhibikong Facebook Page
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