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KBWG “Voices of Browning” – Blackfoot Language Radio

Radio programs in indigenous languages like Ma:lamalama for Hawaiians and various for the Navajo are definitely a great way for Native language learners to gain extra exposure to their tongues? Blackfoot just joined the bandwagon. The 6 year old 107.5 FM station just launched Blackfoot language classes on their airwaves. Darell Kipp leads a one hour Blackfoot language broadcast at noon on Mon-Tues, and plays longer recordings on Saturdays, with Biblical programming on Sundays.

A short booklet on grammar is handed out free to listeners because as Kipp agrees, Blackfoot is very complex: “As we know in English, first, second, and third – I, you, and you guys – Blackfeet also has fourth and fifth,” said Kipp. “It has timeless verbs, it has very unique qualities.” Marvin Weatherwax Sr., Studies Instructor at Blackfeet Community College renowned for his work on Blackfoot and Plains Indian Sign Language, is planning to present radio Blackfeet language classes from 9:00 – 10:00 AM From Monday-Friday weekly.

One day the station hopes to stream online and go global for Blackfoot that live outside the area such as in Glacier County, and those serving in Afganistan. Employee Robert Hall predicted: “I think it can go pretty far because we’re a sovereign nation…It’s an opportunity to broadcast language and culture in the modern media.” That’s the wonderful thing about using radio to study language, you also get accustomed to the culture and community of speakers!

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