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Documents current information concerning languages indigenous to what is currently the United States of America.

Northern Utes, Southern Utes and Ute Mountain Utes Hope for Greater Revitalization Efforts

Posted By mathias on October 7, 2011

Ich nuu’apag’apü uruskwa’èi.
The Ute language is disappearing.

…especially among the Southern Utes, where a handful of people can understand a little bit, but only a dozen or so speak it natively. Ute Mountain Utes – situated in an area with fewer non-Ute landowners – have more speakers, but even they number fewer than 525/2,100. The number of fluent speakers is declining, and along with the language’s death goes the spirituality of the people as expressed through their traditional songs and rituals. The issue has gotten many prominent Utes concerned, namely:

• Lynda Grove D’Wolf, language and culture teacher for Southern Ute tribal members

• Pearl Casias, Southern Ute chairwoman (fluent in Ute)

• Manuel Heart, Ute Mountain Ute council member

• Stacie Oberly, Southern Ute Culture Department Director

So far, Northern Utes have built a school for high-school-aged children that teaches language and culture, and the Southern Utes the same for preschool and elementary children. Ute Mountain Utes hope for a middle school curriculum to close the gap, within the next decade. One of the difficulties faced is finding fluent speakers qualified to teach in Colorado public schools.

Hopefully the 2011 National Native Language Revitalization Summit this summer on Capitol Hill are encouraging collaboration will result in increased funding for Native language programs. What is more imperative according to Oberly, is to establish consistency in teaching efforts across the community.

A Cappella Group “Unheard Voices” Brings Natives Together in North Carolina

Posted By mathias on October 6, 2011

Only a small fraction of Natives west of the Mississippi River are enrolled at the University of North Carolina, however, their a capella group Unheard Voices – which uses Native lyrics and folk music – grew from 6 to twelve members since additions were held Tuesday. It is a subgroup of Carolina Indian Circle, which aims to spread awareness of Native culture around campus.

FaveQuest Creates First Inuktitut App

Posted By mathias on October 4, 2011

FaveQuest gave its calendar app Inuktitut language support by working with a native speaker recommended by The Canada Council for the Arts. The making of the app was a technological that required them to override the phone’s default settings (which don’t accommodate Native languages) and enable character support for the Inuktitut syllabary. Such can be regarded as the first app in Inuktitut.

Cherokee Language Revitalization Comics!

Posted By mathias on September 30, 2011

Roy Boney Jr. (Cherokee) – who has been involved with many language oriented creative projects – has made a graphic novel that explains the history of Cherokee, in Indian Country Today magazine.

Red Lake Ojibwa Met to Discuss Language Revitalization

Posted By mathias on September 30, 2011

On Tuesday, September 6th, 2011, 12 persons gathered at the Little Rock Roundhouse, Minnesota to discuss and pray for Ojibwa language revitalization. The group will begin posting Ojibwa language signs on their reservation, namely tribal buildings and street signs. Such requires consistency in Ojibwa orthography, one that adhered to the double vowel system was preferred by all.

Cherokee All About Immersion

Posted By mathias on September 26, 2011

Sequoyah Schools of the Cherokee Nation extended full immersion classes to 6th graders and provided iPads and iPods to 7th and 8th graders as part of Sequoyah’s Technology Education Program (STEP). They’re using new technology in dynamic ways, consulting dictionary and vocabulary apps, taking reading comprehension quizzes, and creating video presentations. Reportedly, children are using the apps with their grandparents.

Supplementary, anyone can practice their Cherokee in a traditional context at the Cherokee Heritage Center’s Ancient Village, which is a reenactment of Cherokee life in the 1700s, located in Park Hill, Oklahoma. Tour guides fluent in Cherokee – J. D. Ross and Steven Daughtery – speak it daily, supported by a grant from the International Museum of Library Studies in Washington, D.C.

Ross…said he enjoys speaking Cherokee and teaching others the language but finds it unfortunate that not many Cherokee-speaking people visit the village…An introductory language tour is available at regular admission every Tuesday through Saturday at 1:30 p.m. For fluent Cherokee speakers and Cherokee language students, a complete and complimentary immersion tour can be reserved between Tuesday and Saturday. Tours are 30-45 minutes long.

Activists Turn ILAT: Indigenous Languages and Technology Mailing List into Their Political Soapbox

Posted By mathias on September 21, 2011

The mission statement of I.L.A.T. the Indigenous Languages and Technology mailing list is stated on their website as follows:

Indigenous Languages and Technology (ILAT) discussion list is an open forum for community language specialists, linguists, scholars, and students to discuss issues relating to the uses of technology in language revitalization efforts.

Recently, however, a couple renegade scholars have been trying to shift emphasis away from ILAT’s mission and toward semi-relevant or largely irrelevant political issues, often with hateful undertones. For instance, on July 26th, 2011, Richard Zane Smith (Wyandotte) supported vandalizing the sign of a headshop that named itself Miigwetch, which is the Ojibwe word for thank you or that is enough, referring to satiety.

ahh! don’t we understand? we’re so slow!…the owners of the store where
“honoring” Anishanaabe!

I wonder what that sign would look like shot full of arrows?
it could be a way “to honor” the store owners

Richard Zane Smith
Wyandotte Oklahoma

Most recently, today, September 21, 2011, Rolland Nadjiwon (Blackfoot), sent out an article about the recent occupation of Wall Street, referring to U.S. citizens who are not of Native descent as ‘immigrants’.

Wonder what took so long…waiting for earth quakes and hurricanes maybe…eh… Some really great photo shots. I think they’re all immigrants since I couldn’t definitely identify any so called Native Americans…

rolland nadjiwon

This was just after he forwarded a plead to answer ‘no’ to a CityTV (Toronto) poll that asks if Muslims should have the right to pray in public schools, using it as an excuse to rant on religion.

Such issues have little to do with Native languages and their revitalization via technology in particular and thus distract focus from that goal.

New Champion for Wopanaak

Posted By mathias on September 20, 2011

After seeing a video on Jessie Little Doe Baird, Nitana Hicks (Mashpee Wampanoag) became motivated to help her tribe’s language: Wopanaak. Like Little Doe, Nitana Hicks is on route to receive an advanced degree in Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by 2014. Currently 250 families are taking Wopanaak language classes and one seven-year-old is being raised with Wopanaak as her first language. The Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project has already generated course materials and a 3-day immersion camp, and hopes to one day create a children’s television program, an interactive website, a school, and other teaching centers.

More Native Language Mention in the Media

Posted By mathias on September 19, 2011

The Bearstein Bears in Lakota has induced a media storm, with reports by The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, SFGate, TIME, Newser, KFYR-TV (Bismark, ND), etc.

Ojibwe Jeopardy was invented by National Park Service rangers and brothers David and Daniel Grooms, who teach Ojibwe language summertime night classes. Students are issued dictionaries then given an answer like makwa, after which they rush to respond with the appropriate question: “What is a bear?”

Great News for Siouan Languages

Posted By mathias on September 19, 2011

Indian Country Today just came out with a report on Dakota language immersion programs with a touching 10 minute video. Also, a Lakota language class is returning to Sioux Falls high schools, having been downgraded to a generic Native American Connections class two years prior due to trouble finding a teacher. Now, Tim Easter, a former Native American Connections teacher who was trained at the Lakota Summer Institute will teach Lakota Language I. His mother is a Native speaker of Lakota, and he looks forward to involving culture as well as potentially teaching a Lakota Language II class.

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