language preservation

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Languages help save tribal cultures

Languages help save tribal cultures

It’s been said that the traditions of Indian culture are embedded within our tribal languages. But for several generations, the majority of people who spoke their tribal language have passed on without new speakers taking their place. This has caused widespread concern among tribal communities and…

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Comanche Nation College Tries to Rescue a Lost Tribal Language

Comanche Nation College Tries to Rescue a Lost Tribal Language

A two-year tribal college in Lawton, Okla., is using technology to reinvigorate the Comanche language before it dies out. Two faculty members from Comanche Nation College and Texas Tech University worked with tribal elders to create a digital archive of what's left of the language. Only about 25…

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Keeping Language Alive: Cherokee Letters Being Translated for Yale

Keeping Language Alive: Cherokee Letters Being Translated for Yale

Century-old journals, political messages and medicinal formulas handwritten in Cherokee and archived at Yale University are being translated for the first time. The Cherokee Nation is among a small few, if not the only tribe, that has a language translation department who contracts with Apple,…

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Tribe fights to keep language alive

Tribe fights to keep language alive

Tribal members living in the Pendleton Round-Up’s teepee village stopped, listened and peeked their heads west when Carina Vasquez-Minthorn sang the national anthem at last week’s Happy Canyon Night Show. Vasquez-Minthorn, 20, a Happy Canyon princess, sang in the Umatilla language for the first…

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Speaking a culture: How efforts to revitalize a language can have a ripple effect

Speaking a culture: How efforts to revitalize a language can have a ripple effect

Carla Osawamick stands in front of a class of students with a wide range of life experiences, from one still in high school to a great-grandmother. The students all have one thing in common: they are dedicated to learning and speaking Anishinaabemowin, the language spoken by many Native Americans…

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Revival of nearly extinct Yurok language is a success story

Revival of nearly extinct Yurok language is a success story

Carole Lewis throws herself into her work as if something big is at stake. "Pa'-ah," she tells her Eureka High School class, gesturing at a bottle of water. She whips around and doodles a crooked little fish on the blackboard, hinting at the dip she's prepared with "ney-puy" – salmon, key to the…

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Preserving the Navajo Language, One Interpreter at a Time

Preserving the Navajo Language, One Interpreter at a Time

A group of 33 students were competively selected to earn free certification from the UA's Navajo Interpreter Training Institute to gain eligibility to serve as interpreters in New Mexico and Arizona state courts. Many...have similar backgrounds - they began their unofficial role as English-to-…

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Study Evaluates Young Native Adults' Connection to Tribal Lands. Arizona Public Media

Study Evaluates Young Native Adults' Connection to Tribal Lands

University of Arizona master's student Aurora Trujillo is a member of the Taos Pueblo nation in New Mexico, a full-time resident of Tucson during the school year, and is working at an internship in Montana this summer. She is representative of other young adults who do not live on the tribal…

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Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language.

Who Speaks Wukchumni?

Throughout the United States, many Native American languages are struggling to survive. According to Unesco, more than 130 of these languages are currently at risk, with 74 languages considered “critically endangered.” These languages preserve priceless cultural heritage, and some hold unexpected…

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Entering Seneca Nation Territory sign: o : nõtowa' ke : onõ' ohiyo : nõ' (Seneca language)

Huge Push to Save Endangered Seneca Language

The Seneca Nation of Indians have a deep rooted history in Western New York. Stories of their ancestors are here and their culture from ceremonies to traditions is still very much alive. But the language, a huge part of their culture, is dying. That's why there is a big push to preserve the…

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The Ways: Language Apprentice: Bringing Back the Ho-Chunk Language

The Ways: Language Apprentice: Bringing Back the Ho-Chunk Language

Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation work hard to sustain their culture and beliefs. They believe it is essential to keep their traditional knowledge alive by passing on their culture and language from elders to younger generations. In their continued efforts to maintain their traditional knowledge, the…

PBS "We Shall Remain": A Matter of Funding

George Blanchard, an Absentee-Shawnee elder, has taught Shawnee language classes to adults and children for a number of years. In 2008, the tribe's funding priorities shifted, and Shawnee language classes were cancelled...

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The Ways: Living Language: Menominee Language Revitalization

The Ways: Living Language: Menominee Language Revitalization

Before European contact, the Menominee Indian Tribe had a land base of over 10 million acres (in what is now known as Wisconsin and parts of Michigan) and over 2,000 people spoke their language. Today, their land has been reduced to 235,000 acres, due to a series of treaties that eroded the tribe’s…

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Reviving Yurok: Saving one of California's 90 languages

Reviving Yurok: Saving one of California's 90 languages

California is home to the greatest diversity of Native American tribes in the US, and even today, 90 identifiable languages are still spoken there. Many are dying out as the last fluent speakers pass away and English dominates. But one tribe is having success reviving the Yurok language, which was…

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Native Report: Season 5: Episode 5

Native Report: Season 5: Episode 5

This week the Native Report crew visits the Waadookodaading the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe language immersion school. Also come with us to the Honor the Earth Powwow, one of the largest and oldest powwows in the region. And we talk with noted writer David Treuer and hear his thoughts on Native…

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Betting on a School

Betting on a School

Ninety miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the San Bernardino Mountains, a school for Native American children peers down onto its main benefactor, a glittering, Las Vegas-style casino and hotel owned and operated by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Millions of dollars spent in the casino by…