Youth fair shows validity of Native language in Oklahoma
Beginning in 2002, with the Indigenous Language Institute of Santa Fe, N.M., serving as a model, the University of Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair expected only 80 participants in individual and group speech and song categories. Instead, more than 200 participated in the inaugural event. This year on March 31 and April 1, the seventh annual event grew to include 1,055 pre-registered students and teachers.
"Through our language immersion program, we are working diligently to teach future generations our native tongue," said Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. "The Cherokee language enhances the quality of life of our people and preserves the culture and traditions of our past. The Cherokee Nation is very proud of these young Cherokees and their accomplishments at the language fair."