[EDLING:1674] Canada: Language retention ignites young entrepreneurs vision
Francis M. Hult
fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jun 23 02:18:33 UTC 2006
Language retention ignites young entrepreneurs vision
A January 2004 paper by Indian Affairs and Heritage Canada explored the
survival and maintenance of Aboriginal languages and concluded only three of
about 50 languages were not in danger of being lost forever.
According to the paper, From Generation to Generation: Survival and
Maintenance of Canadas Aboriginal Languages within Families, Communities and
Cities, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut are the largest and most wide spread
languages. And young entrepreneur Clayton R. Ogden, 26, originally from
Mishkeegogamang wants to make sure that the numerous Ojibway and Oji-Cree
dialects in northern Ontario stay strong.
Ogden is aiming to have each school in Treaty 3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation
outfitted with Anishinabe language materials for children; which will
be tailored made to each communitys dialect.
I love business, the young entrepreneur explained of his pursuit. Business
is my life. But its not just about business; its about doing something for
the people. Ive always wanted to make a significant contribution to the
Anishinabe people and I feel this is how.
Ogden spent three years at Confederation College in Thunder Bay studying
business. After completing his education, he settled back in Grassy Narrows
where he spent the bulk of his youth, and it was there during a teaching stint
that Ogden first got the idea to develop Aboriginal language materials for
While I was working there, I noticed there were no materials and everyone
kept talking about how bad they needed materials. So, I thought to myself, Im
going to produce the materials.
Inspired, Ogden began producing materials on his laptop.
Six months later, Ogden had developed a wide variety of materials such as a
selection of childrens spelling books, flashcards and items for walls of
Ogden hit his first hurdle when he tried selling his newly developed material
to schools within Treaty 3.
I tried selling the materials and found out that each school and community
has their own dialect.
This is where the first failure hurdle came in due to a lack of capital. This
was extremely hard on the business and on me. I then went back and redid my
marketing plan and also found my new goal of offering each school the option
of ordering materials, which are developed specifically for their children and
developed with their very own dialects.
Operating under the name Oji-Cree Crow Incorporated, Ogden now will be sending
out promotional packages to schools along with a word list for language
teachers to type in their own dialects which will allow his business to custom
develop every order.
This is to ensure 100 per cent language accuracy for all who order, Ogden
said. Its a new concept, a way of giving the schools exactly what they want,
so I am excited to see how schools respond.
Ogden often rises at dawn to work freelance jobs such as creating
advertisements and brochures.
I was up at 4:30 this morning and walked to work, and the money I make from
here will go towards a promotional package. Its not always the healthiest
thing to do; yet I feel its a small sacrifice for a greater good.
Ogden hopes to one day see all First Nation schools in northwestern Ontario,
Manitoba and northern Minnesota using his materials.
Ogden's plans have grown into more than just a business venture.
Ogden can be reached by e-mail at c_ogden24 at hotmail.com
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