YouTube Ioway Language Lessons

Chiwere is an endangered North American Indian language spoken by the Iowa (or Ioway, Báxoje), Otoe (or Jíwere) and Missuria (or Ñút’achi) peoples. Currently, there are two Iowa tribes: The Iowa tribe of Oklahoma, and The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and Otoe and Missouria people are part of a joint Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma. Reportedly, the last fluent speaker passed away in 1996, and only about 34 people still use the language, mostly elderly Iowa in Oklahoma.

Fortunately, Lance M. Foster (Ioway) is making a difference. He created the Ioway Cultural Institute, a grassroots project that houses a wealth of knowledge on Ioway culture, history, language and more. In the language section you’ll find texts in Ioway, and for 15$ (plus 5$ shipping) you can order an Ioway-Otoe-Missouria language book with CD made by Jimm G. GoodTracks as part of the Báxoje-Jíwere Language Project. Best of all, you can watch Lance’s YouTube Ioway language lessons for free!

Lance, whose interests include writing, fine arts, culture (archaeology, sociology, anthropology), spirituality, language, history, nature (environmental science, landscape architecture), and the paranormal attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, got his B.A. in Anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Montana, Missoula, took part in the University of Montana Wilderness Institute, got his M.A. in Anthropology and M.L.A. in Landscape Architecture (Landscape History) from Iowa State University, and spent a summer in Nigeria researching Yoruba knowledge systems. He worked on Native land right issues in the southwest, Alaska, and Montana for the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, and helped protect important Hawaiian sites as Director of Native Rights, Land and Culture for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). He is now an adjunct professor at the University of Montana, Helena.

He has half a dozen blogs, and several publications, including a book on the Ioway “The Indians of Iowa” (2009) with blog. Not only that, he assisted in the production of a movie on the Ioway called “Lost Nation: The Ioway” (2007), plus he’s been on Iowa Public Television. I’m glad he’s so active in helping this language.

When most non-Natives study Native languages they go for Navajo, Lakota, or Cherokee, but don’t forget the little guy! The Ioway have a fascinating culture and language.

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