Nkwejong – the Lansing area – has a significant number of fluent Anishinaabemowin-speaking elders. In fact, many of the Michigan's Ojibwe-language teachers live in the area. As a program, AIIS believes that to create a sustainable community – both on-campus and off-campus – we must strive to create intergenerational spaces where youth, adults, and elders can learn from and share with one another.
Like many American Indian and Indigenous Studies programs at universities, AIIS believes that we must bring elders to MSU to work with University students and the campus community. This type of Indigenous social structure and Elder-in-Residence programming is quintessential to establishing a vibrant and sustainable academic program in American Indian and Indigenous Studies at MSU.
Since its inception in 2000, AIIS has worked with elders in a variety of capacities. As the program moves into the future, AIIS has become intentional about making sure that we create space for elders to share their wisdom and skills with students. At the same time, we all collectively learn from one another in Indigenous ways.