April 30, 2011

Wes Studi as language activist

Language Symposium Focuses on Preservation and Features Wes Studi“Weaving Indigenous Language Through Family, Education & Community” is the theme for the sixth Minnesota Indigenous Language Symposium, which will focus on programs working to preserve language and culture.

Wes Studi, the Cherokee actor, language activist and honorary board member of the Indigenous Language Institute, will be the keynote speaker on the first day of the event.

April 22, 2011

Rabbit and the Sticky Doll

NSU students present Cherokee play at symposium

By Tesina JacksonStudents of Northeastern State University’s Intermediate Cherokee II and Advanced Cherokee II classes normally present talks on a topic or theme at the school’s annual Symposium on the American Indian. But for this year’s symposium, held April 11-16, they presented a play in Cherokee.

“There was a number of students who indicated and said they would work and spend time putting on a play,” Wyman Kirk, NSU instructor of the Cherokee Language Degree Program, said. “So we identified the story. They did their characters line-by-line translation and then we met as a group. They had their lines reviewed by fluent Native speakers to adjust, correct and then we talked about, not just the script and what they had, but language ideas.”

The idea of a play was brought up at the beginning of the semester. The students decided on the Cherokee traditional story “ Jisdu Jujalesdi Anehldi” or “Rabbit and the Sticky Doll” and presented it as a puppet show at the symposium on April 14.

The story of the “Rabbit and the Sticky Doll” is a Cherokee tale about the animals finding themselves without water during a drought. They get together and build a well. All of the animals help except for rabbit, who sleeps while they work and claims he can gather water from dew drops.

April 21, 2011


Student performs Cherokee song at NSU symposium

By Tesina JacksonThroughout the Northeastern State University Annual Symposium on the American Indian, new ideas are presented and discussed by guests, instructors and students. This year was the first year a student presented a song she had written in Cherokee.

“The song is called ‘Jiwonihesdi’ and it’s about me learning my language,” Danielle Culp, NSU junior and former Miss Cherokee, said. “My mom is a speaker, it was her first language and when she married my dad, I didn’t have the opportunity to hear Cherokee in my home. And so I came to college and it was really important to me and so I wrote this song as showing the legacy that she’s passing on to me with the Cherokee language.”

April 15, 2011

Ojibwe Language Quiz Bowl

A Friendly Competition in Ojibwemowin

By Konnie LeMayIt is expected that about nine teams and 150 students from mainly Minnesota and Wisconsin will attend the event, hosted this year by Augsburg Indigenous Student Association.

During the fast-paced, timed tournament, the four-member teams won’t have too much time to get stuck on pondering. They must quickly answer questions about Ojibwe language definitions, pronunciations and translations. “The content is all what we cover in our classes,” Jones said.

The language bowl, said this year’s organizer Jennifer Simon who directs American Indian Student Services at Augsburg, helps to give students a goal and a focus for their studies. “They want to learn their language…this brings some intentionality to it.”

The language bowl is one tool used to engage students who rarely get to speak Ojibwe outside the classroom. Language tables, regular weekly gatherings where Ojibwemowin is spoken, often over a meal, have also blossomed.

Blackfoot language radio broadcasts

KBWG Brings Blackfoot Language Lessons to the Airwaves

By Stephanie TyrpakWhen a small radio station in Browning took to the airwaves over six years ago, the idea was to add programming that would be meaningful to the community. And in the past two weeks, 107.5 FM has launched a language class that airs four days a week.

In a one room radio station, Darrell Kipp leads a one hour Blackfoot language broadcast that could one day play around the world.

April 05, 2011

9th annual Oklahoma language fair

Native American Language Fair

By Keith TaylorThis morning more than 600 students showcased their Native American language skills in the largest language fair in the nation.

The two day event at the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, brings together as many as 25 different tribes and 23 native languages. Students compete in a variety of categories including spoken word, song, book, poster and more modern power point and film video categories.

The language fair brings students from Pre-K through 12th grade and from across the state of Oklahoma and other states.

The Ninth Annual Youth Language Fair continues Tuesday morning at the Sam Noble Museum from nine a.m. until 2 p.m.
Competitiveness and Culture at the University of Oklahoma Language Fair

By S.E. RuckmanIt’s hard to say whether the younger or the older students were sharper at the Ninth Annual Oklahoma Native American Youth and Language Fair on April 4-5. All age groups, elementary, high school, junior high and pre-K, showed up at the two-day event ready to rumble.

At stake was bragging rights for the first place trophies and the chance to strut their cultural stuff. Some groups were old hands at the fair while others were first timers. They showed up in traditional dress or matching T-shirts carrying props, drums or stickball sticks. Herded by teachers and parents, students split off into their categories including spoken languages (group and individual) song, book, poster and video, among others.