About Barbara Nolan

Barbara Nolan photo

Barbara Nolan

(“Causer of Language Understanding”)

Barbara Nolan is grateful to have survived the attempts by Canada’s Indian residential schools system to take her Nishnaabe language from her. As a vibrant first-speaker of Nishnaabemwin, she has spent several decades working with a variety of organizations to revitalize our language.

Twelve years ago, Barbara teamed up with John Paul Montano as his language mentor to pass-on her Nishnaabe language. John Paul, being a committed and determined individual, whose mission was to acquire the language, has been successful at doing so. He is now a speaker of the Nishnaabe language. During their time together, Barbara learned much from him about language acquisition. In particular, she learned from John Paul how to do immersion instruction. She learned from him the importance of making people understand her intended meaning without resorting to grammatical explanations or using English translations. John Paul taught Barbara how Second Language Acquisition works. And, for this, she is forever grateful. Barbara and John Paul have attempted to share this knowledge with other first-speakers by team-teaching the Immersion Instructor Training Program for fluent speakers.

Barbara particularly enjoys consulting with Native communities on the effective development of language nests and immersion programs, as well as training Nishnaabemwin speakers in methods of immersion instruction.

She continues to do immersion classes, most recently in a year-long, 270-hour, part-time Nishnaabe-language immersion program.

Aside from immersion classes, Barbara has had the opportunity to produce the Nishnaabemdaa language app which can be downloaded from the App Store. She plans on updating her app this Spring, and will soon be releasing an Android version.

Barbara is a proud Nishnaabe-kwe, formerly from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, who now resides in Garden River First Nation.

Back to Top