NMU, BMCC partner on certificate to prepare K-12 teachers of Anishinaabemowin language, culture

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BRIMLEY/MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Bay Mills Community College (BMCC) and Northern Michigan University (NMU) are partnering together to provide a new teaching certificate beginning this fall.

The certificate is designed to prepare K-12 teachers of the Anishinaabemowin language and culture. Michigan Department of Education granted the program’s initial approval through June 30, 2026.

Students can select one of two pathways toward the certificate: completing an Associate of Arts degree in Anishinaabe language instruction at BMCC and finishing the required teacher education courses at NMU. The second option is to take language courses through NMU’s Center for Native American Studies (CNAS) and augmenting with teacher education courses that fulfill the requirements. Both pathways include a 33-credit professional studies sequence offered through NMU’s School of Education, Leadership, and Public Service.

“How we partner the curricula at Bay Mills and Northern is forward-thinking in terms of teaching the importance and relevance of indigenous knowledge and culture,” said Amber Morseau, director of NMU’s CNAS. “This is what innovation in Indian Country looks like. This is how we work together, ask questions, and solve issues that are community-centric with aspirations of impacting others around us. On our campus, we have been hearing a lot about what’s next and how do we get there? And how do we get there faster without the time that it takes to create meaningful, long-lasting relationships with our surroundings?

Innovation can be sustainable if we have a deeper understanding of the nations that collaborate with us beyond the human realm. Teaching Anishinaabemowin gives us the foundation to understand those relationships on a deeper level. We can look into and invest in the future of our world just by looking at the teachings of our past.”

“Bay Mills Community College is excited to partner with Northern Michigan University to offer a state-certified Anishinaabemowin teaching certificate,” said Duane Bedell, BMCC president. “Through this partnership, students will be able to share the Anishinaabemowin language and culture in Michigan public school systems. Not only will this help share our language and culture, but it will also help keep our language and culture alive.”

Morseau explains how teachers can utilize the certificate in the classroom.

“We have this momentum to develop a deeper value in education as a whole. This certificate is rooted in these beliefs that relationships and meaning go far beyond what can be capitalized. The value of what is retained and displayed by these students could be critical for sustainable living in the future,” said Morseau.

As a condition of the Michigan Department of Education’s initial approval, NMU will continuously assess the mastery of students and graduates of both language skillsets and corresponding teacher preparation standards. 

For more information, you can visit CNAS’s website nmu.edu/nativeamericanstudies/ or BMCC’s website https://www.bmcc.edu/.

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