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Language Family: Athabascan

  • Apr 23, 2012
  • 05:02 PM

New Native Language App Starts Small, WIth Animal Names in Four Tongues

Leeanne Root / Indian Country Today Media
A new American Indian language app hit the iTunes store January 20 that features translations of animal names from English to Diné, Lakota, Mvskoke and Ponca. The menu screen offers a choice of four languages. Once a language is chosen, a short list of animals appears from which to choose.
  • Apr 20, 2012
  • 02:35 AM

The language that became a mighty weapon

Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, “Native Words, Native Warriors” shares the stories of the code talkers, U.S. military soldiers who came from more than a dozen Native American tribes.
  • Apr 09, 2012
  • 02:50 PM

Tribes embrace native names to preserve culture

Dennis Wagner / AZ
Indigenous words denote a sense of culture, and their use reflects an evolving trend in Indian country. Still, as tribes attempt to resurrect history and instill pride through native place names, they face a gamut of political, practical and financial obstacles from Alaska to Arizona.
  • Apr 05, 2012
  • 12:26 PM

Navajo Code Talkers

Bill Waterstreet / Desert Warrior
The code talkers began in early 1942, when Philip Johnston, a white protestant missionary's son, presented the idea of using the Navajo language to create a code the Japanese couldn't break. Johnston recruited 29 young Navajos to become Marines, not informing them about the plan for the code. Once the Navajo Marines had passed boot camp and combat training, they were instructed to create a code based on their native language.
  • Mar 29, 2012
  • 03:26 PM

Dene Languages Apps

Government of the Northwest Territories
The five Dene languages available in these apps are Tlicho, North Slavey, South Slavey, Gwich’in and Chipewyan. The apps are available for the touch-screen technology platforms and have language learning components, games and quizzes. Categories include family, actions, commands, food, animals, trapping and hunting. The next language apps to be developed will be in Cree, Inuvialuktun and Inuinnaqtun.
  • Mar 21, 2012
  • 07:47 PM

11 graduates trained to teach ailing Tsuu T'ina language
Eleven adults in the Tsuu T'ina First Nation just graduated from a program designed to help save their endangered language. Tsuut'ina is an Athabascan language with only about 50 speakers left.
  • Mar 19, 2012
  • 08:41 PM

Q & A with K. David Harrison on Groundbreaking “Talking Dictionaries”

Daniela Kucz / Daily Gazette
English is not the only language that creates or borrows new words. All healthy languages do so. Dictionaries are a way to record a portion of the lexical knowledge base of a language, words words for objects, relationships, concepts, and anything else, and to make it widely available. My Talking Dictionaries help establish a first presence for small languages in the internet. So far, working with Swarthmore students in my lab, we’ve built talking dictionaries for Siletz De-ni, Matukar, Chamacoco, Remo, Sora, Ho and other small languages.
  • Mar 08, 2012
  • 09:39 PM

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Alaska Native Languages

Alaska Native News
The Alaska State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday aimed at protecting and restoring Alaska Native Languages. Senate Bill 130 will establish the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council to assess the state of Alaska Native Languages, reevaluate the programs within the state, and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to establish new programs or reorganize the current programs.
  • Feb 22, 2012
  • 02:47 PM

Diné language conference draws dozens

Ryan Boetel / Farmington Daily Times
FARMINGTON — A two-day conference to brainstorm how teachers can save the Navajo language started Friday at San Juan College. San Juan College and Diné Language Teachers Association co-sponsored the conference. More than 100 Navajo language teachers from schools across the Navajo Nation and school districts in border towns attended Friday's training sessions...
  • Feb 20, 2012
  • 11:27 AM

Cyber zoo to preserve endangered languages

Whyalla News
Eight new ''talking dictionaries'' have been unveiled by linguists who journeyed to some of the most remote corners of the world in search of vanishing languages. They feature more than 32,000 written words, 24,000 audio recordings of native speakers pronouncing words and sentences, as well as photos of cultural objects.
  • Dec 12, 2011
  • 11:34 PM

Arizona has most Indian language speakers

United Press International
Sixty-five percent of tribal language speakers live in just three states -- Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Nine counties within the three states contain half the nation's tribal language speakers, the report said.
  • Dec 10, 2011
  • 12:56 AM

Elections officials grapple with new Native American language rule

Uriel J. Garcia / Cronkite News
WASHINGTON – Coconino County election officials have provided translators at the polls for Navajo speakers. They have done the same for Hopi voters. But Yuma has them stumped. “There has never been a request for (Yuma),” said Coconino County Elections Administrator Patty Hansen. “So now we’re trying to find someone who can speak that language.”
  • Nov 29, 2011
  • 12:02 PM

Navajo Code: Powerful As Any Weapon In WWII? (audio)

During World War II, the U.S. military enlisted Navajo Indians who used their native language to devise a clandestine, unbreakable code. Host Michel Martin speaks to Chester Nez, the last of the original Navajo 'code talkers,' and Judith Schiess Avila, co-author of Nez' autobiography.
  • Nov 18, 2011
  • 12:52 PM

The Last Of The Navajo Code Talkers (audio)

Laurel Morales / Fronteras: The Changing America Desk
...Years later, Nez was shocked to learn he’d been recruited by the Marines, specifically to devise a code using the same language the government tried to beat out of him. Judith Avila helped Nez write his memoir Code Talker, which was just published. "It was extremely ironic one of the very things they were forbidden to do - speak Navajo - ended up helping save us during the war," Avila said.
  • Nov 12, 2011
  • 05:45 PM

Apaches work to save language

Rene Romo / Alamogordo Daily News
MESCALERO -- One word at a time, one student at a time, a group of Mescalero Apaches and their partner, a New Mexico State University anthropological linguist, are trying to stave off the demise of the tribe's ancient tongue, the wellspring of its culture.
  • Aug 10, 2011
  • 04:58 PM

At 90, Chester Nez Keeps Alive the Story of Navajo Code Talkers

Indian Country Today Media
For the past decade, Nez has devoted his time to educating people about the work of the code talkers. Nez, now 90, signs his name Cpl. Chester Nez and wears his code talker uniform at public appearances. With his son, Mike, he has visited colleges and schools across the country. “He wants young people to know what the code talkers did in World War II and wants them to be proud to be Navajo,” Mike says. “He wants them to know how they fought for their country. And he wants them to learn their language.”
  • Jul 24, 2011
  • 04:23 PM

LiveAndTell, A Crowdsourced Quest To Save Native American Languages

Paul Glader / Fast Company
In an attempt to preserve endangered indigenous dialects such as Lakota and Ho Chunk, South Dakota-based programmer Biagio Arobba has built LiveAndTell, a user-generated content site for sharing and learning Native languages. It can work for any language, but his passion is to preserve the endangered tongues you won't find in textbooks, language programs, or widely taught in classrooms.
  • Jul 22, 2011
  • 06:17 AM

WWII Navajo code talker Joe Morris dies at 85

Ct Post
LOMA LINDA, Calif. (AP) — Navajo code talker Joe Morris, one of more than 400 American Indians who used the language of their ancestors to relay secret battlefield orders during World War II, has died. He was 85.
  • Jul 21, 2011
  • 12:29 AM

Dene Assembly delegates push GNWT for language programs

HQ Yellowknife
“I will support this, but I want one thing, one change in it, I want the Government of the Northwest Territories to start promoting Dene immersion programs in all the Dene communities,” he said. “That our children will learn how to read and write and count in Dene first, not English.”
  • Jul 12, 2011
  • 03:44 PM

Prince William dazzles Yellowknife crowd with a nod to local languages

Josh Wingrove / Globe and Mail
...The crowd really erupted, however, when he ended his speech with “Mahsi Cho” and “Quyanainni,” the Dene and Inuvialuktun words for “thank you.” He was then drowned out entirely by cheering.
  • Jun 04, 2011
  • 06:12 PM

Navajo: a tongue for the young

Alyssa Landry / Farmington Daily Times
Although Navajo is the most-spoken native language in North America, with as many as 177,000 speakers, it is a victim of U.S. policies from a century ago that forced American Indians to stop speaking their languages. After decades of boarding schools and student placement programs, the Navajo language has dwindled, spoken mostly by tribal elders...
  • Jun 01, 2011
  • 10:38 PM

Up Close: Where the Code Talkers were 'born'

Betsey Bruner / Arizona Daily Sun
...Johnston is best known as the man who pushed successfully for the adoption of the Navajo language for secure military communications in the hands of the Navajo Code Talkers during World War II.
  • May 23, 2011
  • 12:16 PM

Healy couple translates New Testament to Gwich’in language

Mary Beth Smetzer / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
FAIRBANKS — The gold-lettered title of the plain-covered book reads “Vit’eegwijyahchy’aa: Vagwandak Nizii,” Gwich’in for, “God: His Good News.” Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Healy couple translates New Testament to Gwich’in language
  • May 18, 2011
  • 06:06 PM

MAY 13 G/CCS BOARD MEETING NOTES School board approves NMSU-Grants’ budget and Keres discussed

Donald Jaramillo / Cibola County Beacon
School board members were given a brief oral history of the district’s Keres (Native American) language class. Small steps have been taken since 2000 in reference to the class being offered in public schools.
  • May 12, 2011
  • 01:56 AM

Home drives -- and pulls -- a UC Berkeley student

Matt Krupnick / San Jose Mercury News
Not only does the UC Berkeley doctoral student plan to return after the six years or so it will take to finish her degree, but she also hopes to help revitalize the dying language of her Hupa people, members of the Hoopa Valley tribe. Only a handful of elderly people speak Hupa fluently, but a younger generation has shown new enthusiasm for learning the language, Carpenter said.
  • May 07, 2011
  • 12:01 AM

Codename Geronimo

Song Pyeong-in /
The Cherokee language, which is on the verge of extinction, was very useful for U.S. troops during World War I. They used Cherokees, dubbed “code talkers,” to exchange secret messages in the Cherokee language at the Battle of the Somme.
  • Apr 30, 2011
  • 08:52 PM

Northwest Territories: South Slave Minister’s Regional Forum On Aboriginal Student Achievement Focuses On Revitalizing Language And Culture

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources
Language and culture revitalization was the focus of the South Slave Aboriginal Student Achievement (ASA) Minister’s Regional Forum on Hay River’s K’atlo’deeche First Nation Reserve, April 5 to 7, 2011.
  • Apr 27, 2011
  • 01:04 AM

Code talker describes experiences behind enemy lines during WWII

Lisa Irish / The Daily Courier
Code talkers played a major role in the war by sending messages in a code that substituted words from the Navajo language for military terms. The Japanese could not break the code, and it cost them dearly.
  • Apr 20, 2011
  • 10:11 AM

U of T prof wins Killam Prize for work on Slavey language

Mark Hume / Globe and Mail
When Professor Keren Rice went North from Toronto in 1973, she entered “a completely different world” in order to study the Slavey language, which was then in danger of slowly dying out in the Mackenzie River Valley, where it had been spoken for thousands of years.
  • Apr 08, 2011
  • 12:22 AM

John Smelcer/Author Interview: Writer from the Far North
I'm one of the last dozen or so speakers on Earth of the Ahtna language of Alaska, one of the world’s most endangered languages.