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 time at the show. Some cried, others clapped and cheered.

“She hadn’t told me she was going to sing in Umatilla," Vasquez-Minthorn’s grandmother Marjorie Waheneka said. “I was telling everyone, ‘That’s Carina, that’s Carina!’"

Like many native languages, the Nez Perce language and Sahaptin language group – including Umatilla and Walla Walla – are no longer the mother tongues of most tribal members...

Resource Type

Wheeler, Natalie. "Tribe fights to keep language alive." The East Oregonian. September 17. 2013. Article. (, accessed September 18, 2013)