Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Standup Comedian and Mother Team Up for Anishinaabemowin Lessons in New Podcast

By Lenard Monkman, CBC News. Photo by Whitney Bittern.

A new lighthearted podcast by standup comedian Paul Rabliauskas and his mom invites people to listen and learn as she tries to teach him the family’s language — Anishinaabemowin.

“It’s beautiful working with my mom, because she knows me and she knows she needs to have patience with me,” said Rabliauskas.

The podcast, Paul Anishinaabemo (Speaks Ojibwe), has three one-hour episodes so far and includes language lessons like the Seven Grandfather Teachings, common introductions and Valentine’s Day greetings.

“My mom basically sits down with me and we spend the first part of the podcast sort of just talking about the language. And then the second half we go through specific lessons where we run through phrases and words,” said Rabliauskas.

For the past few Sundays, Rabliauskas has been recording the conversations with his mom, Sophia Rabliauskas, at her kitchen table in Poplar River First Nation, which is 347 kilometers north of Winnipeg.

“It’s fun for me to learn,” said Paul Rabliauskas. “I wake up on Sundays and I have a big smile on my face. And I’m already thinking about the lesson that we’re going to have.”

When he was a young child, Rabliauskas heard a lot of Anishinaabemowin spoken in his community.

His grandparents spoke the language, as did his aunts and uncles. Even his dad, who is Lithuanian, speaks the language fluently after living in the community for the last 40-plus years.

Read the full story here.