Trent Press Release


Professor Shirley Williams to Launch Ojibway Language Learning Game at Trent University

Tuesday, March 18, 2003, Peterborough

At a special gathering on Friday, March 21, 2003, Trent Native Studies Professor Shirley Williams will launch her new Ojibway language learning game, a cd rom called Zhooshkwaadedamogad Rip Roaring Hockey.

In September of 1998, a group of Ojibway language scholars and computing specialists were
invited to attend a brainstorming meeting held by Shirley Williams at the Department of Native
Studies at Trent University. It was decided that a cd rom would be a good medium to deliver
the language materials while at the same time providing intergenerational fun and entertainment
to elders and youth.

It was a unanimous acknowledgement that the language depends on youth to carry it forward, taking into account that the Elders are the ones who know the language and can assist the youth
with their study of it.

Youth who are in primary, secondary and post-secondary school have some things in common. They like to have fun and playing hockey is something that almost every Native family is involved in and enjoys. Therefore, the cd rom employs the game of hockey as a means of delivering the language information. Using the medicine wheel, each of the thirteen identified themes was related to one of the four categories: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Once these themes were related to the medicine wheel, it became obvious that much more
could be done. This resulted in the development of many sub-themes for each section of the
wheel. Once all of this work was done, then the development of the cd rom could begin in
earnest. A cd rom is scripted, just like a movie, each story board is related to the one
before and after, just like scenes in a play. First Nations Technical Institute did this technical
work and was able to ensure that the end result was a fun, interactive teaching tool using
hockey as the vehicle, full of colours, sounds and laughter, just like the real thing.

"The Little NHL Hockey Tournament has existed as far back as I can remember," says Professor Williams. "It has brought families from all over during the March break. In Wikwemikong, the tradition goes that the only people left in the community are those in the Wikwemikong Nursing Home for that week, so they are left behind to mind the community while everyone else is cheering on their nephews, nieces, sons and cousins at the tournament!"

It is this unity of spirit and community which has inspired the creation of the Zhooshkwaadedamogad, Rip Roaring Hockey cd rom and book.

"It is the spirit of competition which hockey promotes," adds Prof. Williams. "This cd rom will help in competing to hold our language against the odds, but, like playing a game of hockey, we go into it without a trace of worry, just confidence and ability."

The launch is free and open to the public, however the Native Studies Department asks that you RSVP if you wish to attend by calling Barb Rivett at (705) 748-1011 ext. 1466 or emailing


For more information, please call Professor Shirley Williams at 748-1011 ext. 1477.

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