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2022-2023 L'IMAGE comics

To cite this page: Taniguchi, Ai, and Haili Su. 2023. Alicia's Story - Anishinaabemowin. In University of Toronto Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment Project (L'IMAGE). Available online at Accessed on [date].

Alicia's Story - Anishinaabemowin

[CN: Reference to language endangerment and allusion to colonialism. Mention of family death on page 3.]

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L’IMAGE comic series: Alicia’s story

Alt-Text with long description


[Page 1, Title Page]

Upper left corner of page reads: UofT L’IMAGE Project: Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment

Subtitle over light blue box: The lived experiences of real multilingual students at U of T

Title over bright red box: Alicia’s story**

Under the title banners, the character Alicia smiles at the readers. She has long hazel hair, light skin tone. She is wearing a yellow top and blue teardrop beaded earrings.

Bottom left corner of page shows the University of Toronto logo.

Bottom right footnote: **Some stories in the L’IMAGE comic series employ pseudonyms at the request of the featured student.


[Long description of text and images in the comic strip:]

The comic strips in the L’IMAGE comic series uses the font Ames, which is the standard font for comics. Ames is an all-caps font. However, Alt-Texts for this project are not written in all-caps so that they will be more accessible for screen readers.

The comic artist for the series is Dr. Ai Taniguchi. Her drawing style can be described as: Japanese manga inspired, cute, large eyes, intentionally sketchy and unpolished line art, simplified, expressive. The comic strips are all digital, but she uses a pen that mimics the line weight of a traditional fountain pen. Her line art is on average 0.5mm in width (relatively thin), but the line weight varies and looks hand-drawn.

The title page of each comic strip is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. The background is white with a navy blue frame. The references and acknowledgements page and the “About the L’IMAGE project” page also have this University of Toronto color scheme.

The comic strips themselves are black and white, and employ digital screen tones for shading and backgrounds.


[Page 2]

Top panel: Alicia, smiling at the audience and using her hands to support her head with her elbows on the table. A dozen white pigeons flying in the background. She introduces herself:

“Aaniin! (Note: Hello in Annishinaabemowin) My name is Alicia.

 I am a fourth-year student at U of T.”

Bottom panel: Alicia, with a neutral expression, extending out her arms to explain to the readers that her dad is Ojibwe and her mom is Mohawk. Alicia’s narration continues:

“I’m Ojibwe and Mohawk.

I speak English, and Anishinaabemowin (also known as the Ojibwe language): the language of the Anishinaabe people.

(I want to learn Mohawk in the near future, too!)”


[Page 3]

Top panel: Two text boxes of Alicia’s narration. She continues: “My dad passed away when i was really young. I grew up speaking mostly English.

I started learning Anishinaabemowin when I was 18.”

Bottom panel: Alicia can be seen sleeping. Her narration continues: “I am passionate about learning Anishinaabemowin because my dad showed up in my dream one nigh and reminded me of the importance of the language.”


[Page 4]

The full panel: Alicia’s narration continues: “In addition to self-study and courses at U of T, I went to an Ojibwe immersion summer camp in order to learn the language. the camp was technically for parents who wanted to teach their kids Anishinaabemowin, but i applied and attended it anyway!”

In the middle of the panel, a determined Alicia sit at the center of a circular bench with a notebook and a pencil in her hands. Two older Ojibwe people are sitting on her either side. The adult on the left has short white hair, with wrinkles under his right eye, wearing white top and pants. He is holding a piece of paper. The adult on the right has long black hair with a ponytail, with wrinkles under her left eye, wearing a white top and skirt.

[Page 5]

Top panel: Alicia’s narration continues: “The camp was conducted largely in Anishinaabemowin, so it was definitely super difficult for me at first.”

Under the narration textbox, an adult woman with long dark hair, wearing glasses and a pair of round earrings, stands on the left facing Alicia. She asks Alicia questions in Anishinaabemowin with her two hands up signaling the number 8 with 8 fingers up. Alicia, standing at the right hand side, looks confused. A dark-haired woman behind her confidently answer the question in Anishinaabemowin.

Bottom panel: A laughing Alicia at the right side of the panel facing the left, where her narration continues in two text boxes: “But I didn't give up. by the end of the camp, I had learned so much. being able to communicate in Anishinaabemowin allowed me to embrace my Anishinaabe identity in a way I never could before.”

[Page 6]

Top panel: A smiling Alicia, in the center, holding a phone calling her Ojibwe mentor, who is shown in a bubble on the left. The mentor, also smiling, has long dark hair and wears glasses. In the two text boxes on the right, her narration continues: “These days, I keep up with Anishinaabemowin by calling an Ojibwe as often as I can. (I also talk to friends from immersion camp!)”

Bottom panel: Alicia’s narration continues: “I also practice by talking to myself in Anishinaabemowin a lot. because Anishinaabemowin is an endangered language, finding someone to speak it with is a major challenge.” On the right side of the panel, an eye-closed Alicia sitting at the edge of her bed, practicing. A little bird stands behind her on her bed.

[Page 7]

The full panel: In a classroom setting, Alicia’s narration continues: “That's why I am grateful that the Centre for Indigenous Studies at U of T creates various opportunities for me to use Anishinaabemowin. for example, one time, my indigenous studies professor let me do a presentation in a worldviews class in Anishinaabemowin, even though it's a class taught in English!”

A smiling, standing Alicia can be seen in the classroom holding a piece of paper, giving the presentation.


[Page 8]

The full panel: Alicia’s narration continues: “With the help of the U of T Indigenous Student Association, I also currently lead an Anishinaabemowin study group at U of T. Studying Anishinaabemowin gives me purpose. I want to encourage other young Indigenous people like me to learn, love, and sustain their heritage language. Amidst the intergenerational trauma that I am processing in my Indigenous studies courses, I feel that the Anishinaabemowin language gives me hope. It's symbolic of our people's resilience and future. We will not be silenced.”

In the bottom of the panel, we see Alicia sitting at a table with two other students at the study group. She is showing a student at the left side a picture of a strawberry. The student answers the Anishinaabemowin noun for “strawberry”, and Alicia concurs in Anishinaabemowin as well.


[Page 9]

Top panel: A textbox with a grey backdrop. Inside the textbox Alicia introduces a Anishinaabemowin expression, Miigweng Kendaaswin, which means “giving knowledge”. Her narration continues: “Sharing knowledge is critical for our survival. We must ensure that our language, our culture, and our identities live on.”

Bottom Panel: Alicia, looking determined with a smile, is wearing her jingle dance regalia, and a headdress in the style of a hairband with geometric patterns and a circle above each of her ears. She is wearing two braids and a pair of round-shaped beaded earrings. Her narration continues: “My name is Alicia. this is my Anishinaabemowin journey.”

[Page 10]

Page title: About the L’IMAGE project

Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies

Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics

Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre

With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre

Learn more:

Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo.

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