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Raptors hype provides Anishinaabemowin lesson for Sudbury teacher

The Toronto Raptors are still one win away from making history, even after a heart-breaking loss on Monday night.

The Toronto Raptors hope to win the NBA Finals in Game 6 on Thursday. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

The Toronto Raptors are still one win away from making history, even after a heart-breaking loss on Monday night.

The Raptors will try to finish the series against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday in the NBA Finals.

No doubt you’ve heard fans proudly shouting the team’s popular “We the North” slogan during the historic playoffs and a Sudbury, Ont. language teacher is taking the opportunity to get his students cheering in Anishinaabemowin or Ojibwe.

“For us, ‘We the North’ translated is ‘Kiinwi Giiwedinong’,” teacher Dominic Beaudry explained.

“So literally it would be ‘We are the North’ but it’s as close as you can [get] to ‘We the North’.”

He says students have been showing up in class in Raptors jerseys and have had no problem picking up the phrase in Ojibwe.

“They’re right into the finals as well,” he said. “It’s very exciting times.”

Dominic Beaudry is an Ojibwe language teacher with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board. (Twitter/DhkBeau)

He says he’s capitalizing on the success of the team to teach his students new words.

“These are teachable moments,” he said. “Students and most folks who are interested in the sports want to learn the language or the translation.”

Beyond the cheer, Beaudry has also taught his students the word for basketball, which is mikookibinaagan bkwaakwot.

As for the word raptor, Beaudry says the closest translation would be chi-gete kaadi-genebig.

“That would be really descriptive of the raptor itself,” he said.

Beaudry says he’s noticed the language lesson is spreading beyond the classroom. As an Anishinaabemowin teacher who is active on social media, Beaudry says those wanting to learn Ojibwe have been asking him for help.

“I see a real resurgence and folks wanting to learn more of our language,” he said.

“Not only Ojibwes or First Nations but from Canadians all across the spectrum. Everybody is really interested in learning an Indigenous language. It’s really great times for me.”

The Toronto Raptors are one win away from making history. They’ll tip off against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals on Thursday. Raptors fans have been proudly shouting the team’s popular “We The North” slogan during this historic playoff run. In this week’s spotlight on Indigenous languages in northern Ontario, we find out how to say We The North in Anishinaabemowin, or Ojibwe. Dominic Beaudry is an Ojibwe language teacher with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board. 5:28

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