August 26, 2011

Wampanoag word games and children's TV

Cape Cod’s first language is spoken again

Many are studying Wopanaak

By Ellen ChaheyAccording to literature from the project, “Recognizing that the colonists preferred” written documents, the native people of Cape Cod “became the first American Indians in the English-speaking New World to develop and use an alphabetic writing system…to record personal letters, wills, deeds, and land transfers amongst each other and between communities.”

As preliminary work, the language project has created a dictionary, some Wampanoag-based word games, coloring and storybooks, and even a three-day “immersion camp” where only the native language is spoken. A major characteristic of the language that Hicks called “complicated” is that it does not distinguish between genders but does separate “animate” and “inanimate.”

The organizers hope to create a children’s television program, an interactive website, a school, and other teaching venues to help revive the language. The goal, said Hicks, is “to get everyone” in the tribe “to the level they want” in language fluency.

Little Doe, who began the reclamation project in 1993, won a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in October 2010 for her efforts.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see We Still Live Here Âs Nutayuneân and Documentary on Reviving Wampanoag.

August 25, 2011

Lakota Berenstain Bears to premiere

Native American Version of Berenstain Bears Launches SoonAfter more than a year in the making, the Lakota version of the popular cartoon The Berenstain Bears or Matȟó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe—The Compassionate Bear Family—will make its debut September 11 at 9 a.m. through South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) and Prairie Public Television.

Two episodes a week will air on SDPB digital channel 3 and Prairie Public’s digital channel 4 every Sunday morning through November. Then, local access stations KOLC and REZ IPTV will broadcast the show to viewers on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Berenstain Bears Cartoons in Lakota.

August 23, 2011

Ute language grade-school elective

Ute language pull out offered

By Ranae BangerterAll grades at Eagle View Elementary School will have a chance to take Ute Indian Tribe language class as a specialty course.

During a presentation to the Uintah School Board on Aug. 9, Eagle View Principal Robert Stearmer explained when the course would be taught and how students could join it.

He said the 30-45 minute class will be taught three to five days a week depending on the schedule associated with similar specialty classes and can substitute the time slot normally used for music, P.E. or art class.

August 06, 2011

Resurrecting Tunica

La.'s Tunica tribe revives its lost languageThere were a few old, wax phonograph cylinders with the language recorded on them, but years of wear and background noise made the chants impossible to decipher, said Kathleen Bell, a graduate student who worked on the project.

"The quality was terrible, and the drums more or less drowned out the chants," she said.

The researchers were able to refer to past work by academics. One published a short grammar of the language in 1921, and a linguistics scholar in 1939 worked with the last tribal member known to be conversant in the Tunica language.

Mary Haas, a linguist who worked with a number of Native American languages, worked with a tribal elder, writing down stories and bits of Tunica history. She used the International Phonetic Alphabet, marking stress and some intonations, but not enough to give Maxwell's group the rhythm, timing and the way the language was phrased, Bell said.

The modern scholars used Haas' material to create glossaries and a "more modern take on grammatical properties of the language," Maxwell said.
Below:  "In this Aug. 5, 2011 photo, Brenda Lintinger poses with one of her children's books she wrote in the Tunica Indian language, in her home in Metairie, La. Lintinger decided to do more than learn a new language." (Gerald Herbert)

August 05, 2011

Cherokee tours at Ancient Village

Cherokee-speaking tour guides enhance Ancient Village

By Will ChavezIt’s as it should be in the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Ancient Village because the Cherokee language is being spoken and heard daily.

Village tour guides J.D. Ross and Steven Daugherty, both fluent Cherokee speakers, use the language to explain the culture and traditions showcased in the village while using their first language.

This is the second year the men are serving as Cherokee-speaking tour guides.

Ross, of the Greasy Community in Adair County, said he enjoys speaking Cherokee and teaching others the language but finds it unfortunate that not many Cherokee-speaking people visit the village.
Below:  "Cherokee Heritage Center tour guide Steven Daugherty demonstrates bow shooting with a Cherokee bow for visitors at the Ancient Village in Park Hill, Okla. He is one of two Cherokee-speaking guides for the Ancient Village."

August 04, 2011

Tlingit flash cards

Alaska institute striving to pass on Tlingit, other endangered Native languages

By Jonathan GrassTlingit speakers and educators are fighting to keep that language alive. As those at Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) put it, creating new speakers will be key in accomplishing this.

In fact, the Native institute has just introduced a new Tlingit language card program as part of this mission.

The program is a set of flash cards and audio CDs to help gain efficiency in the alphabet. They use pictures as well as an online interactive tool to help kids learn the Native language.

Tlingit Curriculum Specialist Linda Belarde said the tool is important because new speakers are needed for a language to survive. As for Tlingit, she said there just aren't that many birth speakers left.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Children's Book in Tlingit and Learners' Dictionaries for Alaska Languages.

Below:  "In this Aug. 1, 2011, photo, Linda Belarde, a Tlingit Curriculum Specialist with the Sealaska Heritage Institute, displays some of the 50 Tlingit alphabet cards that she help produce in Juneau, Alaska." (Juneau Empire/Michael Penn)