"Boozhoo" customers to Bemidji's Cabin Coffee
House & Café are now welcomed in both Ojibwe and English.
tents show them numbers, animals and the major Red Lake clans in
both languages. And they can try their Ojibwe language skills to
order makade-mashkikiwaaboo (coffee) and naboob (soup).
Aylesworth, Cabin Coffee House owner, said the idea came from Shared
Vision, a Bemidji group working to make relations between American
Indians and members of the majority culture more comfortable and
thought it would be a kind gesture, and it only made sense,"
Aylesworth said. She said she plans to hang a framed feather painted
with "Ininiwag" on the men's rest room door and with
"Ikwewag" on the women's rest room door.
Vision members Michael Meuers and Rachelle Houle set themselves
a challenge to have bilingual English/Ojibwe signage in 20 Bemidji
businesses within one year. But with nine additional businesses
already committed to the project, they said they think they might
meet their goal by the end of the month.
was, Oh, my gosh, why didn't we think of this before,'"
said Moni Schneider, owner of The Wild Hare Bistro & Coffee
House. "We just heard about it this week and we're excited
about it. It's a good way to bring the community together."
another way we can create community," said Richard Chernugle,
owner of MedSave Family Pharmacy. "Besides, it makes good business
said he does a significant amount of business with the Cass Lake
Indian Health Service, and he plans to put a welcome sign ("Boozhoo")
on the outside of the door and a thank-you sign ("Miigwech")
for people to see as they leave.
said she and Meuers propose the concept to business owners with
three talking points: to welcome Indian customers, to teach non-Ojibwe-speaking
customers a little of the language and "tourists eat it up."
agreed, saying customers, such as a couple from France and some
people from the state of Virginia, have already asked her for copies
of the Cabin's table tents.
Jo Pilgrim, owner of SJ & Company Hair Design & Day Spa,
The T-Shirt Shop and My Best Friend's Closet, said she plans
to have "Boozhoo" on the door of all her businesses.
been talking to some of my clients from the reservation, because
I didn't want to do anything offensive, and they love it,"
think it's a great idea," said Andy Wells, a Red Lake
Nation enrolled member and a member of the Bear Clan.
said border towns such as in southern California use Spanish/English
signs out of necessity.
it's done out of honor," Wells said.
Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area also has joined the bilingual
movement. Other businesses committed to Ojibwe/English signs, according
to Meuers and Houle, are Dunn Bros Coffee, 4 West Office Building,
Bi-County CAP, Country Kitchen and Giovanni's Pizza.
surprised it took so long for this to evolve," Aylesworth said.
"I'm happy to do a little bit moving forward."