By Nate Sunderland
"Our native languages are on the verge of becoming extinct because only the older people are speaking (them)," language specialist Merceline Boyer said. "Our younger kids are not picking it up; and it's important because language is our (cultural) identity."
Once the first language of the Shoshone Indians, Shoshoni was replaced by English as the tribe's primary language during the last 50 years. School officials estimate less than 20 percent of tribal members speak the native language. Fewer still, speak the native Bannock language.
School officials hope the charter school will reverse that trend. Although in the same language group, the languages are significantly different. As a result, students will chose to learn either Shoshoni or Bannock.