Save the Words

At the commencement of the lesson, a prayer is recited, however there is no mention of Jesus, Muhammad, any holy figures, nor a deity of the Abrahamic faiths. Additionally, no English is spoken.

For reciting “Lavina’s Prayer”, Joey Awonohopay, the director of the Menominee Language and Culture Commission, distributes a handout for participants to falteringly read from.

Joey, a soft-spoken man in his late forties, is casually dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, and his glasses have tiny animals cut out of the earpieces. His long hair is tied into a ponytail. Marie, a ninety-three year old woman with white hair, is seated beside him.

She is one of the five people left in the world who grew up speaking Menominee and reads each line of the prayer out loud for the rest of the class. When Marie stumbles over the words, Joey helps her out with the pronunciation.

It is the end of October in northeastern Wisconsin on the Menominee Reservation. Through the windows of the Language and Cultural Commission office, one can observe the snowy landscape surrounding the forest.

The cars in the parking lot are all covered with a layer of ice. After a prayer, Joey declares it is time to eat; individuals gather to get helpings of rice casserole, cake, cobbler, and ice cream, providing a variety of delicacies for Halloween.

The walls and whiteboards have been decorated with signage written in Menominee, except for one particular area, where a set of posters featuring animals are in English, conveying the words of wisdom, love, respect, and courage.

Joey was brought up surrounded by a family who spoke the language fluently, but English was the language he primarily used. It was taught in school, spoken by his relatives, and all around him in the media.

After high school, he attended the technical college of the tribe. Joey worked in metalwork for almost 10 years, until he was involved in an accident where he fell off a conveyor and incurred a severe injury to his lower spine.

Joey, despite the lingering limp, eventually recovered enough to be able to stand again. This injury, however, had an additional impact on his life by causing him to reflect on his past.

He noticed he had “drifted further than seemed possible in ten years” from his traditional roots, he mentioned. This was when he made the choice to stay on the reservation and work for the tribe.

His introduction to education began when a local tribal school asked him to teach an after-school program about singing and drumming.

Following this, he was apprenticed to learn Menominee from elders, then he taught it to middle school students, and eventually he became the director of the Language and Culture Commission, responsible for overseeing the tribe’s language and culture renewal efforts.

On a snowy late-fall day, Joey is guiding a dozen adults in an elders’ speaking class, which has no age limit, ranging from the twenties to the nineties. The participants, including myself, try to recite the strings of words printed on different worksheets.

They include a “Ghost Supper” story, a “Fall” story, a list of questions and commands and some phrases for introducing oneself.

We say “Mesek—-mamāceqtaw newīhswan“, which is translated to “—- is my Indian name”. “Mōhkomān eneq ‘s pas āēc—-” means “in English it means —-“.

Among the class is Dolly, a friendly woman from the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe who is attending her indigenous language course. Sitting next to me is Dennis Keynote, an elderly man wearing a green cap with “native veteran navy” stitched in yellow on the brim.

He taught Menominee in local schools and is keen to help, thereby pointing out the details as we go through the worksheets.

He explains that adding -saeh to the end of a noun makes it diminutive, and colors used to describe animals, insects, balls and kettles should be in a certain form to reflect their animacy.

Additionally, adding -et to the end of a verb turns the sentence into a question. The term “Kahnap” is a term of respect used only for those who have passed away.

The words of Menominee flow off the tongue like smooth pebbles, though some of them are so lengthy that they can be difficult to pronounce. As is the case with other languages in the Algonquian family, Menominee is polysynthetic.

This means that words are composed of multiple parts which convey not just tense but also distinctions between animate and inanimate nouns, transitive and intransitive verbs, and objects of one, two, or many people.

Today’s lesson focuses on the challenge of comprehending Menominee for someone who speaks English.

After the two-hour lesson had finished, a student enquired how to express “Merry Christmas.” Joey rose from his chair in response. On the whiteboard, he wrote in a crooked style with a brown marker: Onānekosenon sāēsōs kēs dataset.

He then proceeded to explain that this was a makeshift translation crafted by the elders who did not usually practice Christianity.

Joey and Ron Muqsahkwat Corn Jr. have a full-time job occupying them, with their small office having had guests from the Bad River Ojibwe tribe in the same week.

The pair have been instructing language immersion trainees who are nearing the end of their 18-month course, which covers history, culture, and education as well as language.

They have also been aiding teachers in drafting lesson plans about deer processing and demonstrating the use of VR headsets to be used in Menominee language games. Furthermore, they will be giving a talk at a school located an hour away.

Ron informed me during a peaceful pause at the office that they are “like the bottleneck”. In the past, Menominee had been spoken by thousands of individuals across Wisconsin.

Now, it is a strenuous task to teach the language to the upcoming generation before the last proficient speakers pass away.

Ronco, aged 37, is the public face of the Menominee language revitalization effort. In 2012, he was featured in a Wisconsin Education video series outlining his objective of raising his youngest daughter using the Menominee language.

This proved to be a difficult task, as the language varies depending on the speaker. Ron also delivered a TEDx Talk about his work, and was the keynote speaker for the Indigenous Language Institute’s tenth annual symposium in Santa Fe in mid-2019.

In addition to his public accomplishments, he has also been busy on the reservation.

This includes sending emails, teaching classes, creating lesson plans, publishing Menominee books, updating Menominee vocabulary to reflect climate change, and welcoming visitors, including journalists.

He acknowledges that, without the actions taken presently, the language would no longer exist after their generation.

John Atkins, a former congressman who was the commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1887, suggested that the first step in educating the Indians about the misgivings of their current customs was to teach them English.

Atkins further noted that the impossibility of civilizing them without using the English language was clear.

Centuries before Columbus ventured to the Caribbean, and foreign settlers arrived to North America carrying diseases, wars, subjugation, broken treaties and forced removals, the continent was populated with a variety of languages.

Estimates suggest there were more than two thousand spoken, these languages divided into hundreds of different families.

Much like how Romance languages such as French, Italian and Portuguese are descendants of Latin, the Menominee language is part of the Algonquian family, connecting it to several dozen other languages.

When Europeans arrived, they encountered Algonquian languages which were spoken across a wide range of land from the East Coast, south to what is now North Carolina, north to what would become Canada, and westward beyond the Great Lakes.

There was Shawnee, Mi’kmaq, Massachusett, Powhatan, Blackfoot, Miami-Illinois, Cree, and Ojibwe, and it was not uncommon to be able to speak multiple languages.

Currently, the collective nations of Canada, the United States, and Greenland are home to 256 languages. According to the Catalog of Endangered Languages, nearly 200 of these languages are deemed endangered.

Defining endangered is complex; a language may have hundreds of thousands of speakers over the age of sixty, e.g. Breton, a Celtic language spoken in France, or have only a few speakers teaching the words to the upcoming generation, such as Menominee.

Consequently, both scenarios are viewed as vulnerable to vanishing and consequently categorized as endangered.

The reasons for the significant amount of language loss among Native American tribes differ, but there are some common aspects. Systematic discrimination and unfair treatment caused cycles of poverty.

The U.S. government tried to make Native Americans adopt the majority culture through the teachings of Richard Henry Pratt, who famously declared “kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”

This idea eventually led to the establishment of the first residential school in 1879 and a countrywide system of boarding schools where Native children were taken away from their families and compelled to give up their languages and customs.

In 1883, the Saint Joseph’s Indian Industrial School was established on the edge of the Menominee reservation.

This school, run by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, forbade the students from seeing their families, even siblings, and punished those who spoke their native language with physical abuse.

The school remained in operation until 1952, and it wasn’t until 2012 that a memorial was held for a twelve-year-old girl who had been beaten to death by a nun while the school was still functioning.

Ada Deer, an elder and social campaigner of Menominee origin, remembered the desire she had to learn the language from her father and not understanding why he wouldn’t teach her.

She stated, “He wanted to safeguard me from the unpleasant experiences he went through at boarding school, when they attempted to make the children cease speaking Menominee. That is why in his opinion, the language was associated with the pain he had experienced.

He believed that if I spoke it, and people realized I was Menominee, they could potentially cause me harm like they hurt him.

It was so upsetting for the older generation that they wanted to save their children from the same suffering they endured, all due to the fact they could converse in their native language.”

Rebecca Nagle, an activist, author, and language student from the Cherokee Nation, has observed that the US government invested close to three billion dollars in the infrastructure of national Indian boarding schools throughout four decades.

Now, the government only provides twelve million dollars a year to tribes in language revitalization grants as a kind of apology.

When speech is not traveling through the atmosphere, where does it go? At times, its users etch its words into stone, shells or bones, and time buries these clues beneath the dirt, only to be found years later by those who can’t fathom how to decipher them.

In some cases, it’s kept alive through oral stories, words from different dialects filling the empty spaces between the remembered and the forgotten.

On other occasions, the language is documented in the writings of settlers, stored like plants so that it can be investigated and deconstructed.

The innumerable variations of words that exist are just fleeting replicas of the language as it is spoken in reality.

In July 2019, a few months before my trip to the Menominee Reservation, the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages conference was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

This weeklong workshop was co-directed by linguists Daryl Baldwin and Gabriela Perez Baez and attracted fourteen individuals from five Native communities, including the Menominee, Oneida, Hanis, Milluk, Siuslaw, Nisenan, and Numa.

The conference focused on teaching an innovative new software program designed to help with language revitalization.

At the same time, some Menominee speakers traveled to the event to organize documents, vocabulary lists, stories recorded by linguist Leonard Bloomfield, and audio recordings of elders.

This type of documentation is essential for language to be reborn, much like a phoenix from the ashes.

The conference attendees were scattered around the room, each of them facing a monitor and alternating between databases and Excel worksheets. Near the entrance, a whiteboard displayed “Pōsōh” in the participants’ native languages.

Tables shared by linguists, learners, and linguistically proficient speakers were full of laptops and software handbooks.

The narrative of each language is varied: some have a multitude of speakers, some have a few, and some have zero.

Despite the condition of their tongue, all the individuals present were immersed in the difficult work of keeping the languages from vanishing: they examined old records and recordings to input words into the new digital system.

A few had earphones on. Many paused occasionally to have conversations with their peers.

Rebuilding a language that has been suppressed for many years is not an easy task. It is more like taming a Hydra, and it requires nourishment instead of an attempt at extermination.

To start, one must assess the current state of the language; this includes looking at the number of speakers and the level of fluency. If there are any remaining speakers, the words they use must be recorded.

The next step involves teaching new teachers to teach the language to young people, creating lesson plans and multimedia resources such as books or apps. Additionally, linguists must be employed to provide grammatical analysis and dictionaries.

If there are no speakers left, then archival materials must be utilized to create the language anew. Oftentimes, the people doing all of this work have limited funding or training.

Daryl Baldwin, director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University, has long been involved in the work of language revitalization.

(The university was named after the Miami tribe of Oklahoma and has since established a strong relationship with the tribe, with the Myaamia Center serving as a hub for tribal students.)

Baldwin, a member of the tribe, had access to the Myaamia language only in ancient family records and letters. There were no audio recordings of the last speakers, who passed away in the mid-20th century.

In the past, the language was considered “dead” by linguists, but today, the term is dormant to indicate that it could be spoken again due to successful revitalization campaigns like Baldwin’s.

The revival of Myaamia was the result of collective efforts of Baldwin, linguist David Costa, Miami Tribe official Julie Olds, and many others.

The revitalization process involved studying grammars and dictionaries that were compiled by French Jesuit missionaries of the 1700s and amateur ethnographers of the 1800s and 1900s.

The manuscripts were mostly handwritten, and all transcribers used unique spellings to encode Myaamia. Additionally, to read the oldest papers, knowledge of archaic French was necessary.

Baldwin confessed to me that the pages were alarming, yet he and everyone else dutifully took up the task.

In 2012, to better manage the cumbersome information, Miami University computer engineers were called upon to create the Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA).

This was done to avoid the tedious task of manually sifting through the manuscripts, as they were often organized in a way that resulted in valuable information being overlooked.

For example, Jean-Antoine Robert LeBoullenger, a French Jesuit priest, noted the word alaamatayi , stating it meant “before being born in his/her mother’s womb.” But modern linguists discovered that it was in fact an adverb meaning “in utero”.

The word was not listed beside “womb” as one would expect, but rather under the word “before”. Baldwin, Costa, and computer engineer Douglas Troy discussed this in their 2016 article for the journal Language Documentation & Conservation, saying

“This is a fairly typical example. Hundreds of interesting vocabulary items often are not easily accessible until the manuscript is available in a searchable database.”

Once the transcribed manuscripts were entered into MIDA, the database became a useful resource for investigating the intricacies of Myaamia and also for aiding in teaching the language.

Individuals from the Myaamia community were able to employ the database almost like a dictionary.

The Miami tribe began their journey and many other language groups in America were doing the same.

By the middle of the 1990s, the National Breath of Life organization organized multiple-day workshops in California and Washington, DC for indigenous people to access records stored at different institutions.

These archives contained the words of their ancestors and a way to move ahead with their language revitalization.

Perez Baez, who was working for the Smithsonian Institution during that time, hosted the Breath of Life 1.0 conference on four occasions, inviting 117 community researchers from fifty-five language groups to study in the museum’s stacks.

The Miami tribe had previously encountered a problem in organizing their archival information into a database.

Baldwin then thought of creating a database that could be applicable to any indigenous language, which was the driving force behind Breath of Life 2.0’s debut in the summer of 2019.

Participants were trained to utilize a modified version of MIDA called ILDA: the Indigenous Language Digital Archive.

Over the course of five days, they moved data into spreadsheets and then into the database, where it was linked to the digitized original sources such as JPEGs of old manuscripts, PDFs of vocabulary lists, and MP3s of elders speaking.

All the forms a language can take were organized in one place and made easily searchable.

Recently, Perez Baez conducted a survey to assess global language revival efforts and the results of the 245 responses indicated that one-fifth of the languages being worked on were dormant.

This outcome is unsurprising to Baldwin, as more than half of the known languages of the world are spoken by less than five thousand people. In the years to come, people will require archive-based revitalization tools, such as ILDA, more and more.

Through the Breath of Life 2.0 conference, the groundwork for future learners and researchers is being established.

On the fifth day of Breath of Life 2.0, everyone came together, appearing exhausted and happy. During their journey, they battled with complex software, tracked down words, separated phrases, and shifted them into spreadsheets.

Now, it was time to discuss the knowledge they had obtained and the aspects that were still perplexing.

Daniel Grignon and Luke Besaw, both former trainees in the language immersion program in Wisconsin, presented their work on Menominee documents when they joined Monica Macaulay at the front of the room.

Daniel was set to graduate in 2019, while Luke had already graduated and earned a BA in linguistics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Monica, an experienced linguist with more than two decades of experience with Menominee, was planning to use the ILDA to organize the existing ethnographic work on the language.

To kick off the presentation, Luke delivered a lengthy speech in Menominee. He stood tall and thin, his long, dark hair swaying, and he spoke with a quiet assurance.

When he switched to English, he informed the audience of the orthography issues they encountered, such as the word metartar that had everyone stumped.

There were no r ‘s in Menominee, but when they listened to the audio file alongside the written record, the answer became clear. Someone had misheard the word metātah –“ten”–and added an extra r where it didn’t belong.

This was a source of amusement for the rest of the week, with Luke jokingly saying, ” Sahkow is nine, so ninety is sarcow metartar .” His words were met with laughter.

The lightheartedness of the conference was a relief to many, considering the difficulties and tribulations of the week.

Revitalization often involves sifting through hard-to-comprehend documents and questioning the feasibility of reviving a language and whether the effort is even worth it.

Resources are scarce and many people who are working on this face the disadvantage of not having a workspace. However, the people at the conference were all fighting a common cause, even if the words and problems were diverse.

Breaths are short-lived and a single word is a small part of language. However, transferring information from a document to a spreadsheet and then to ILDA can help revive a language’s vibrancy across a broader landscape.

After a three-month absence, Luke is back in the Menominee reservation, now taking care of toddlers instead of morphemes.

He was requested to fill in for a teacher at the immersion day care, which involves feeding, cleaning, teaching, and playing with a group of two- and three-year-olds, all while conversing solely in Menominee.

If things go as planned, this could be the first time in nearly a century that children will be raised bilingual in both Menominee and English.

Every day brings a challenge, but Halloween is especially strenuous. By 10am, the 10 kids are already decked out in the latest costumes – from Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen to Captain America, Spider-Man and Sheriff Woody from Toy Story.

They bundle up into their coats and hats to battle the chill. A few blocks away, a parking lot is filled with cars with streamers and adults handing out candy. Many of the adults are dressed up too, from Dracula to skeletons and even a person in a T-Rex suit next to a Jurassic Park setup.

I can’t help but ponder if there exists a Menominee word for the term “dinosaur”.

The creativity Luke needs for his job is what makes it enjoyable for him.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Menominee speakers created words for items like “blacksmith,” “automobile,” and “refrigerator.”

Luke was particularly impressed by the word for “giraffe,” which translated as “animal with long neck and spots.”

Languages continually change in response to the world they are spoken in.

Maybe one day, one of these children will become so proficient that they are able to easily create words for a modern world filled with new technology, including “meme,” “tweetstorm,” and other potential slang.

The parking lot gradually fills up with children from the local elementary school, carrying bags of treats. Accompanied by three teachers, the little ones from immersion daycare stuff miniature Snickers and Capri Suns into their pockets.

The kids, noses running and cheeks flushed, take in the bright pandemonium in silence. Grown-ups greet them with “Happy Halloween!” and ask them what their favorite sweets are. In this place, there is no denying that the language spoken is English.

Once the daycare classroom is filled, conversations within the room return to Menominee. Educators from other parts of the building must knock and wait for permission to enter before conversing with the daycare teachers.

Visual aides, such as a poster with the Menominee alphabet and a collection of color words, are the only books present in the room. All other media the teachers need is created by them.

Luke works to assist the toddlers in getting out of their winter clothing as his two companions divide the candy and tell the kids to sit around the table.

One of them, Naneque Electa Jo-Marie LaTender, with dark hair and a horseshoe crab tattooed on her chin and throat, is especially enthusiastic while speaking with the youngsters.

She inquires each child singly, inquiring them to point to various body parts before providing them juice pouches. Luke distributes popcorn that has been put in plastic gloves, feigning each bundle is his own hand and requesting the children for a high-five.

Not a single English word is spoken by anyone, including the toddlers’.

In the near future, Luke intends to submit his application for the role of curriculum director, who is responsible for all the instructors of the Menominee language, ranging from the immersion day care to high school.

At present, there are so few who have successfully completed the language-trainee program that the personnel must be prepared to enter the day care classroom without warning.

Keeping kids in line and playing games with them is a large part of the day care experience in Menominee, as well as teaching them how adults converse with each other.

Bringing an app like ILDA into the classroom could be useful for this; Luke could easily access its database to look up information.

However, not many people know how to use ILDA, and they are too preoccupied to add more records to the database, so this dream will remain unfulfilled for the time being. Because of this, the toddlers miss out on opportunities to learn new words.

When I visited, it was the second anniversary of the opening of the first Menominee immersion classroom which opened in 2017 and had 8 babies from 6 weeks to 10 months old.

Ron and Joey were involved in the beginning, along with a set of language trainees who had finished their 18-month course in language, history, Menominee culture, and education. Luke was among that set, and everyone was under a lot of stress.

They had to learn a new set of words for everyday items like “poop” and “diaper” and “breastfeeding”. The staff was small so there was no time off or even sick days. As soon as the second group of trainees began their classes, they got put into the daycare as substitutes.

When Naneque found herself in the classroom, she was equipped with the pieces of Menominee she’d accumulated during her years of language instruction.

Teaching had never been something she desired to do; however, when she was eighteen, and away from the Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico.


She applied for the second group of language immersion trainees–which changed her life. Now, three years later, she is helping young children learn their language, and she sees herself more as an auntie than a teacher.

In the teachers’ lounge, she later explained to me the main aim of their classroom: to help the children become physically, emotionally, and mentally independent.

She noted that this is particularly critical for indigenous people, who have not been raised in their traditional languages for a long period of time, and thus its significance on various levels is undeniable.

Adaptability is more essential than mastering a language, since there is no fixed plan except to “keep going.”

Daily, she is gaining more of the language, helping the babies to grow into toddlers, listening to their first Menominee words, teaching them to repeat longer phrases, and being thrilled when they independently form correct sentences.

The abundance of words and ideas from the children is so great that the teachers can’t keep track of it all. Whenever she by chance speaks English, the children become quiet, as they don’t comprehend her in that language.

In spite of her three years of intensive study, she is seen as only a Menominee speaker by them.

At the end of 2019, there were two daycare rooms with a total of sixteen children, one room for babies and the other for toddlers. In November, a third cohort of language immersion trainees had completed their course and would soon be in charge of a third room.

Although they were anxious about the responsibility they would soon undertake–worrying about forgetting words and accidentally speaking English–they motivated one another by repeating the phrase “fun and easy”.

By the time this next class graduates, twenty-two members of the Menominee tribe have gone through the language training program. Additionally, two more eighteen-month courses, taught by Ron, are being planned.

The goal is to eventually switch to a less intensive method of instruction, such as an internship. Moreover, they are hoping to continue to expand the immersion day care and possibly open a dual-language elementary school.

Despite the challenging project, the progress made in the four years since Ron was hired to help Joey rebuild the language has been remarkable, especially with regard to the toddlers who are now growing up with the language.

The other day, a student teacher was making a lesson plan for a class of toddlers that required them to recognize four fish species by their Menominee names. Ron was initially a bit skeptical, but then reminded the trainee to ensure that their objectives were kept in mind.

To his surprise, the children could point out the pictures of the fish according to the commands given in Menominee, and they could even use the words in sentences correctly after only two days.

Ron states that the only limitation placed upon the youth is ourselves, based on what we expose them to.

Previously, Joey was on a trek with his grandchild, who went to immersion day care, in the countryside. As they went past some trees that had been cut down before winter, they noticed a green-brown streak.

Joey pointed to the object and said in Menominee, “Look at the frog!” The toddler then looked at the amphibian, glanced back at her grandpa, and pulled on his shirt. “No, Papa,” she corrected him. “That’s a bullfrog.”

At the age of two, she had accurately identified the species in Menominee.

What is the worth of utilizing one’s native language?

I was informed by Ron that during his adult life, people questioned his dedication to what seemed to be an obsolete language. His familiarity with Menominee was coincidental: coming in contact with the suitable seniors as a kid, then in high school via another elder.

He refused to pursue a university degree in order to keep studying the language. His acquaintances and family were anxious that it was a waste of energy.

How was mastering Menominee supposed to give him a job, or finance his expenses, or let him support his children?

This journey has brought him to various teaching positions from the high school to the college and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He has earned a place as the Menominee Language and Culture Commission. He has found his calling and felt a sense of identity.

He taught his five children the language, although it didn’t become their native tongue as language is reliant on a larger community. His grandson, however, is in an immersion daycare speaking Menominee with friends and teachers daily.

Ron reflects on the idea of historical trauma and expresses his desire to move beyond it. An elder once used the structure of their language to demonstrate the importance of language.

The elder stated that Menominee nouns can be animate or inanimate, but the body is animate only because it holds a soul. They emphasized that language is the soul of their people and if it is gone, they will become inanimate.

One of Ron’s acquaintances from a different group had their own expression for it: They weren’t the ones safeguarding their dialects. Their dialects were protecting them.

At the Breath of Life 2.0 conference in Ohio, an attendee asked a question that Jerome Viles, a member of the Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians, was able to answer.

Jerome had been learning the ILDA software for a year as his language of Nuu-wee-ya was chosen as a test case to understand the database’s capability for languages other than Miami.

During the week, Jerome spent time around the conference room, responding to queries and supervising the attendees’ assignments. As a linguist, he does grammatical analysis which may not be understandable for lay people, yet is essential for educational initiatives.

He elucidated that our society’s language [Nuu-wee-ya’] has been facing aggression for an extensive duration of one and a half centuries or more.

Therefore, he desires to live in a world in which individuals appreciate the significance of speaking their dialect, have the assets to communicate in it, and have the physical space to do so with communal support.

Jerome believes that the words “dead” and “endangered” to describe Native languages are misleading. He feels that they reinforce the idea of the “disappearing Indian,” when in reality, Native people and their languages are still around.

He suggests that linguists use the term “waiting language” instead.

He declared that the language was ready for him to take hold of, adding that doing so would result in taking action.

The Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that promotes reporting of responses to social issues, has provided support for this story.

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