A new teaching certificate partnership between Northern Michigan University and Bay Mills Community College will begin this fall. It is designed to prepare K-12 teachers of Anishinaabemowin language and culture. The Michigan Department of Education granted the program initial approval through June 30, 2026.
Students can select one of two pathways toward the certificate: completing an Associate of Arts degree in Anishinaabe language instruction at Bay Mills and finishing the required teacher education courses at NMU; or taking language courses through NMU's Center for Native American Studies and augmenting with teacher education courses that fulfill the requirements. Both pathways include a 33-credit professional studies sequence offered through NMU's School of Education, Leadership, and Public Service.
“This is the first and only state-certified Anishinaabemowin teaching certificate in Michigan,” said Amber Morseau, the new director of NMU's Center for Native American Studies. “This partnership with Bay Mills Community College puts NMU in a distinct position of offering this 2+2 program and further legitimizes the discipline of Native American studies.
"How we partner the curricula at Bay Mills and Northern is forward-thinking in terms of teaching the importance and relevance of Indigenous knowledge through language and culture.”
Morseau said centering on language education through an Indigenous lens will give students the tools to delve deeper into issues such as sustainability and respect for animal and plant life. It is also designed to deepen the understanding of and connection to Native American homelands in Michigan.
“A lot of this work started before I arrived at Northern,” Morseau added. “I am grateful for this collaboration because it centralizes the importance of tribal colleges and their significance related to educational sovereignty in our Anishinaabe communities. Bay Mills Community College will shape the curriculum, but partner with Northern to fully implement the certification requirements.”
As a condition of the Michigan Department of Education's initial approval, NMU will continuously assess the mastery of students and graduates of both language skillsets and corresponding teacher preparation standards.
For more information, visit nmu.edu/nativeamericanstudies/. Morseau can be reached at 906-227-1397.