October 23, 2006

Language celebration tries to stem decline

Losing the Native tongueAccording to the society, there are 13 Oklahoma Indian languages that no longer have any fluent speakers in the state. While a handful--including Wyandotte, Seneca and Cayuga--are still spoken by people living in other areas and Canada, others-Delaware, Kaw, Tonkawa and Modoc-are effectively dead.

Those facts scare people like Grounds and Alice Anderton, a linguist and former Comanche language instructor who serves as the society’s executive director. Anderton has her own theories as to why languages once used by state Indian tribes are now disappearing at an alarming rate. Anderton said tribes are “very assimilated here culturally. There are many tribes living in a small space and you have situations where someone speaks Cherokee and they are talking with someone else that speaks another [Indian] language. They don’t speak each other’s language so they communicate in English.”

In addition to funding language teaching programs and stressing the importance of cultural preservation, Anderton has other ideas for stemming the tide. One notion, she says, is for a tribe hosting a powwow or other cultural celebration to use the occasion as a chance to speak in their language, making the event more specific to that tribe and highlighting their language in the process.

October 07, 2006

Two-year language class

Oneidas' Language of LoveHeath Hill's full-time job for the next two years is learning an ancient language.

Hill is one of a dozen Oneida Indians who meet five days a week in a bright, high-ceilinged classroom to learn their people's native tongue.

October 05, 2006

Language immersion village

Lakota Circle Village to use home schooling model for language teachingA project of the Lakota Language Consortium, a nonprofit that promotes language preservation, the village will be a Lakota immersion school on the Pine Ridge Reservation for children ages 5-12, set to open in Oglala in the fall of 2007.

“On this reservation there is no program that is successfully creating fluent speakers,” said Leonard Little Finger, co-founder of LLC and vice chairman of its board of directors. “The only way it's going to happen is if it's community-based, community-assisted, and [we] find a way to be able to give that child as they progress in life the same kind of recognition they would get in a different school.”

October 03, 2006

October 01, 2006

Introducing Turquoise Tales

See the initial version of our website for Turquoise Tales: a nonprofit dedicated to doing comic books for tribes.