Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Wayne Valliere Teaches Ojibwe Language and Culture the Indigenous Way

By Frank Vaisvilas, Green Bay Press-Gazette

It has taken several years for Wayne Valliere to incorporate and transform his style of teaching from a Westernized approach to a more traditional Indigenous way.

“It’s not about teaching culture, but teaching culturally,” he said.

Valliere, 55, is an Ojibwe language teacher at Lac du Flambeau Public Elementary School on the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe Reservation. The reservation lies mostly in southwestern Vilas County, as well as part of Iron County in northern Wisconsin.

And because much of the Ojibwe language involves Ojibwe culture, Valliere also incorporates traditional activities into his teachings, such as maple sugar production, deer hide tanning and even tobacco cultivation.

Rather than explaining those practices from a book to memorize answers for a test, his is a hands-on, experiential approach by showing students how it’s done and having them do it.

This wheel in Wayne Valliere’s classroom at Lac du Flambeau Elementary School shows some of the different Ojibwe activities throughout the year.

“We teach three-dimensionally using all the senses,” Valliere said.

And that method is an extension of the language.

Read the full story here.