July 31, 2010

Eagle Books in Creek language

Taking control of the medium--and the message

Muscogee (Creek) Nation translates health books and videos to appeal to kids

By Stephanie Woodard
The books and videos were originally produced in English, said Isham, but then it was proposed that an exhibit of the illustrations travel from the CDC’s Global Health Odyssey Museum in Atlanta to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s museum. In figuring out how the set of artworks–called “Through the Eyes of the Eagle”–would fit into the focus of the Creek facility, the idea of tribal spin on the materials emerged, he said.

“Our museum focuses on Creek history and culture, so at first the books appeared to be outside our purview. But we got our medical team and diabetes program involved, along with the Mvskoke Language Institute, a language-preservation group, and we thought of translating them into Creek. People saw the potential, and enthusiasm grew.”

Today, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation project has translated one book into Creek and, using the CDC’s Atlanta studios, has transformed two of the animations into two formats–one with Creek language and English subtitles, the other with English language and Creek subtitles, said Isham. “Our elders saw the sense in this when we joined the visuals with the two languages. And our kids responded very well to the media and the message.”

The material wasn’t translated word-for-word, though, he said. “We added our worldview to make them ours.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Eagle Books Promote Healthiness.

July 27, 2010

Cherokee to meet foreign language requirement

Tribe hopes to fund Cherokee as foreign language class in public schools

By Giles MorrisThe Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is urging the state to formally license Cherokee language teachers, enabling Cherokee courses taught in public schools off the reservation to count toward a student’s foreign language requirement.

Earlier this month, tribal and school officials met with representatives from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to finalize the steps in the process.
And:The tribe’s language efforts include everything from street signs in Cherokee to language immersion programs for infants—as well as required Cherokee language classes for grades K-12 school on the reservation.

However, not all enrolled members of the tribe live in Cherokee and attend school on the reservation, so the tribe hopes to offer language courses in public schools in neighboring counties as well.

July 26, 2010

National Native language summit

Native voices heard at national language summit

By Rob CapricciosoNative languages are alive and well, and they need the federal government to help their voices flourish.

That was the message of a group of Indian educators who gathered for the National Native Language Revitalization Summit on Capitol Hill July 13-14 to make legislators and administrators aware of their concerns and desire for support.

July 15, 2010

NCLB impedes immersion schools

NCLB Seen Impeding Indigenous-Language Preservation

By Mary Ann ZehrNative American leaders pressed members of Congress and federal education officials this week to provide relief from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act that they see as obstacles to running the language-immersion schools they need to keep their languages from disappearing.

As part of a two-day national summit here on revitalizing native languages, three founders of immersion schools that are teaching children Cherokee, Ojibwe, and Native Hawaiian contended that some No Child Left Behind provisions present huge hurdles for language-immersion programs or schools and conflict with schooling rights spelled out in another federal law, the Native American Languages Act. That 1990 law says it is U.S. policy to “encourage and support the use of Native American languages as a medium of instruction.”
What exactly is the problem?Since the immersion schools typically don’t introduce English until the 5th grade, their founders argued that it’s unfair that those schools can be penalized if their students don’t test well in English in the early grades. They added that the federal law—the most recent version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—makes it hard for them to expand their schools beyond the elementary grades because to do so they must hire teachers who are both fluent in an indigenous language and “highly qualified” to teach math, science, or another content area.

July 12, 2010

Ojibwe high-school classes

Teaching Ojibwe language beneficial to Duluth students

Ojibwe language, like all Native languages, has as its foundation the truths, values and spiritual ways of our people.

By Linda LeGarde Grover
I was one of many students who took Spanish from Senorita Rich during her years teaching at Denfeld. We learned to read and write a little Spanish, as well as speak. We listened to Rich’s always-interesting stories about her trips to Spanish-speaking countries, and she told us what she observed and tried of their customs and cultures. We made up Spanish dialogues about going to school, shopping, and visiting relatives. We sang popular songs that Rich loved, and we tasted her homemade banana bread. And we retained a surprising amount of Spanish language.

Just as we did, today’s students in Duluth public schools have the opportunity to take a variety of elective courses that enrich and expand their educational experience. Several years ago, Ojibwemowin, the language of the Native people of this part of North America, was added to the curriculum. This coming fall, Ojibwe Language, Culture and History I and II will be offered at the high school level. An introductory language immersion experience will be available at the Ojibwe Language Nest kindergarten, which is a cooperative effort between Duluth Public Schools and UMD.

July 06, 2010

Preserving Hopi through performing arts

Preserving the Hopi language through the performing arts

By the Hopi FoundationThe mission of Three Mesas Productions (3MP) is to provide a creative outlet for Hopi youth while preserving the Hopi language through the performing arts. Since its inception in December 2007, 3MP has performed shows throughout the Hopi Reservation and in Flagstaff. This month 3MP will be performing six shows from July 1-6 both on and off the Hopi Reservation.And:This summer, Fred is teaching a Beginning Voice and Drama class in conjunction with the Hopi Tutukaiki's summer program. This class teaches students to learn how to use their voice as an instrument to express emotion. Also taught are breathing exercises, basic theatre terms and stage direction.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Creek Students Perform Creek Plays.