A Chippewa elder teaching the UM visitors how to prepare corn.

San Duanmu recently participated in a UM visit to Chippewa Native American Community on Sugar Island, in Northern Michigan. San reports that the visit was very successful and that there is definitely opportunities for linguists to get involved with this community. In the rest of this report, we let San tell about his visit in his own words:

“I went to the Chippewa Native American Community on Sugar Island during the fall break. It was an 'immersion' program, mainly for an undergraduate class in 'American culture and oral tradition', taught by Professor Anita Gonzalez (School of Music, Theater and Dance), although a few other people were invited to join, too. The entire group consisted over 20 people, including three faculty members. Dana Sitzler of the UM State Outreach Office, provided the logistics support. Jackie, the cultural program officer of the Chippewa community, was out main host.


There was no wireless or cell phone service for 4 days, but the daily program was rich. Each day some members of the Indian community, many were elders, would come to the guest house to offer us some activities. We also visited the Bay Mills Community College, a tribal college serving that entire area.

My main purpose was to experience native Indian culture and to find out whether there is a potential for further collaboration. The trip made me feel very positive that there could be.

The trip was inexpensive. The Culture Center can house 30 people, for $600 a day (meals and lodging). Our group went in 3 UM vans. The UM coordinator Dana and the Chippewa coordinator Jackie made all logistics arrangements. I imagine a linguistics group of similar size, consisting of undergrads, grads, and faculty, could easily be arranged.

The Chippewa hosts were very happy to see UM visitors. They were also very open to possible collaboration with UM. For example, some elders have agreed to have their stories recorded and documented.”