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Language Group: Native American

  • Apr 23, 2012
  • 05:02 PM

Coushatta Tribe strives to revive native language (video)

Holly Carter / KPLC
The Koasati language of the Coushatta Indians has been a part of their culture for decades. But in recent years, it's disappeared, dissolved, English now the popular language on the reservation. Tribal leaders are trying to change that through new language classes that are aimed at preserving Koasati.
  • 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 22, 2012
  • 06:34 PM

Languages: The Digital Sounds of Bésiro (Chiquitano) (audio)

Eddie Avila / Global Voices Online the city of Santa Cruz, a group of young linguists led by Ignacio Tomicha Chuve, has started a project called Monkox Bésiro as a way to put the Bésiro (Chiquitano) language on the digital map. This language is spoken the Chiquitano people in several provinces in the Santa Cruz and Bení departments with estimates that between 20,000-60,000 speakers still remain.
  • Apr 22, 2012
  • 06:24 PM

Ancient language controls crime rings (video)

Crystal Gutierrez / KRQE News 13
SANTA FE (KRQE) - Some gang members serving prison sentences are using an ancient language to try to keep control of their criminal organizations on the outside as corrections officers work fast to crack the code. Capt. Joe Lytle said the inmates are sending out messages written in Nahuatl, a 1,400-year-old Aztec language.
  • 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 18, 2012
  • 06:09 PM

Graduate students in linguistics leaving legacy for speakers of endangered and quirky language of Garifuna

Kathleen Maclay / UC Berkeley
Garifuna hasn’t been studied extensively, and Michael said its quirkiness presents challenges. It features a vocabulary split between terms used only by men and terms that are marked for common use, and used by women, children and men. But the split doesn’t affect the entire vocabulary, and the terms used by men tend to come from the Carib language influence while the common forms are largely from Arawak.
  • Apr 17, 2012
  • 05:07 PM

New wellness center hosts first Pomo language workshop

Lake County News
“Several outside factors have contributed to the historical loss of language within Pomo communities,” Lim said. “The vitality of many indigenous languages was destroyed by federal policies that targeted Native peoples and cultures for extermination. The loss of tribal lands, and genocide of whole communities, disrupted the continuity of native languages and cultures.”
  • Apr 16, 2012
  • 04:11 PM

Helping to maintain Mi'Kmaw culture

Clayton Hunt / The Coaster
"I was seeing a break in the connection between the home, parents and their children in learning the language, so I wanted to find a way to bridge that gap," Christmas said. "I wanted to make that connection between the children learning the language and sharing the language with the parents without putting any stress on them as adults have difficulty with the language themselves.
  • Apr 16, 2012
  • 11:45 AM

Ojibwe iPad app brings language to world

Rick Garrick / Wawatay News
Baxter originally recorded about 140 words or phrases for the app but has only made about 70 phrases available so far. “Over the next couple of weeks we will be loading up 300 to 400 words and phrases along with objects and a lot more syllabics,” Baxter said. “So it’s going to be a pretty intense tool, and of course we are developing it further so this could be the model for language curriculum, not only in Ontario, but throughout Ontario, Manitoba and the United States.”
  • Apr 14, 2012
  • 09:00 PM

Fighting to keep Mohawk language alive

Steve Bonspiel / The Gazette
The Mohawk language, which is called Kanien'kéha, has been in trouble for a long time. It is still spoken among elders, but a number of factors play into the dire situation it's in today - not just in Kahnawake, but in all Mohawk communities. It's estimated only 3,000 people in the world speak Mohawk fluently.
  • Apr 13, 2012
  • 10:28 PM

First Complete Bible in Inuktitut Language to be Published in the Arctic

Gospel Herald
This Inuktitut Bible publication marks many firsts. For the first time in Canada, the entire translation was done by mother tongue (first language) speakers of the language rather than by missionaries. This is the first full Bible produced in Canada using the cutting edge computer tools distributed and supported by our CBS Translations office, which are transforming the way translations are being done around the world.
  • Apr 13, 2012
  • 06:12 PM

Legislature approves council on Native Languages

Coshocton Tribune
JUNEAU, Alaska (WTW) — Lawmakers have passed a plan creating a state-backed council aimed at revitalizing Alaska Native languages. SB130 was approved unanimously by the House on Thursday. Also Thursday, the Senate, which passed a version of the bill in March, agreed to changes made by the House.
  • Apr 12, 2012
  • 01:23 AM

Twitter Gets Help from SLU Prof on How to Deal With Indigenous Tweeters

Nicholas Phillips / Riverfront Times
If you're one of the five remaining speakers of "Yuchi" -- a near-extinct Native American language in Oklahoma -- your tweets will look insane, even to those within your linguistic group. That's because whenever you type in the "@" character, which is a part of your alphabet, Twitter will (wrongly) think you're trying to refer to a different user, such as @Joe_Smith.
  • Apr 11, 2012
  • 02:42 AM

Hishuk Ish Tsawalk: Everything is One

Anna Luisa Daigneault / The Dominion
Kathy Robinson is a language warrior. At the age of 81, she is one of the last two fluent native speakers of Tseshaht (pronounced “tsi-sha-aht”), a language once popularly spoken on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Tseshaht is not the only language Indigenous to Canada that is at risk of disappearing.
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 05:28 PM

Daniel Everett: lost in translation

William Leith / The Telegraph
It’s hard to describe Daniel Everett, so here are some facts about him. He’s American. He was a Christian missionary. His goal in life was to tell people about Jesus. He spent 25 years, on and off, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, talking to a tribe of hunter-gatherers called the Pirahã. This is one of the most remote, undeveloped places on earth.
  • 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 08, 2012
  • 04:58 PM

Why Should We Keep Tribal Languages Alive?

Sonny Skyhawk / Indian Country Today Media
I canʼt stress enough the importance of retaining our tribal languages, when it comes to the core relevance or existence of our people. Our languages can teach us many things through daily use. Language can teach us respect, for ourselves and each other, our elders, women and most importantly, the things that allowed us to exist.
  • Apr 08, 2012
  • 02:57 AM

Preserving Aymara language and culture on Wikipedia

Ruben Hilare-Quispe / Watching the Watchers
Among the nearly 90,000 active contributors to Wikipedia, there are many different motivations for editing. For some, it's a hobby; for others it's a mission to advance free knowledge. For Ruben Hilare-Quispe, contributing to Wikipedia is a way to promote and protect his language and culture.
  • Apr 08, 2012
  • 02:14 AM

Keeping languages alive: A different kind of conservation

Pete Zrioka / Mother Nature Network
Natalie Diaz, coordinator of the Fort Mojave Language Recovery Program, has been recording and transcribing the Mojave language for three years. In 2009, she contacted the CIE, which sponsored a Mojave language summit at ASU. This led to a collaborative CIE-Fort Mojave National Science Foundation grant to aid in the language recovery efforts.
  • Apr 06, 2012
  • 01:26 PM

Immersion students win trophies at language fair

Will Chavez / Cherokee Phoenix
“Our children at the Cherokee Nation immersion program have so much fun every year. ONAYLF has been so far the only place outside the school that offers our kids a place where they can practice their language in a public setting,” said parent Andrew Sikora, whose son Sean participated at the fair with the sixth grade class. “I will not exaggerate if I say that ONAYLF is a language highlight of the year.”
  • 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.
  • Apr 04, 2012
  • 02:16 PM

American Indian students perform during Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair (video)

Ashley West /
Young American Indians representing more than 20 tribes gathered at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History this week for the 10th annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair. American Indian communities place a high value on culture, oratory skills and creativity through expression, and the fair provides a venue for young people to share the knowledge of their ancestors and speak their native languages publicly.
  • Apr 04, 2012
  • 12:28 PM

Link to Haida culture preserved through photo, audio exhibit at Bill Reid Art Gallery

Lena Sin / The Province
There is hardly anyone speaking Haida today. Fewer than 40. And of those fluent speakers, most are over the age of 75. The youngest is 65. So when Nika Collison, the granddaughter of legendary Haida artist Bill Reid, calls the situation “right on the edge,” she is hardly exaggerating. In the past four months alone, three fluent speakers died.
  • Apr 04, 2012
  • 11:32 AM

Cherokee translator making up for lost time

Cherokee Phoenix
The result of her children’s generation not learning to speak Cherokee is a language gap between her generation and the generation of children attending the Cherokee Language Immersion School. The future of the language may rest in the hands of the 100 or so students at the immersion school, and Edwards said she is happy to support the school and enjoys visiting the students.
  • Apr 03, 2012
  • 02:45 PM

Spelling policy requested

Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
School trustees have decided to turn to the Haida Education Council for guidance after receiving a request from the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program. The elders who attend the Skidegate program wrote to the school district last month, asking that it write a policy around standardizing the program's Haida orthography (spelling) for use at Sk'aadgaa Naay Elementary and Queen Charlotte Secondary schools.
  • Apr 02, 2012
  • 12:36 PM

A guide for Northern New Mexico diction

Tom Sharpe / Santa Fe New Mexican
Indeed, all jokes aside, people from other parts of the country often are puzzled at the esotericism of Northern New Mexico -- with place names in Spanish, Tewa and other languages, and natural, cultural or historical references unknown elsewhere. Mark Cross aims to acclimate tourists, newcomers and even people who have spent years here but remain ignorant of the finer points, with his newly published Encyclopedia of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico.
  • Apr 02, 2012
  • 09:37 AM

Amazing 'talking' dictionary project helps preserve Ojibwe language

Cynthia Boyd /
Now, thanks to an amazing project in progress at the University of Minnesota and spearheaded by their Department of American Indian Studies, there’s a new online resource called “The Ojibwe Peoples Dictionary” that opens doors to the sounds and context of the indigenous Ojibwe language and will help preserve it.
  • Apr 02, 2012
  • 09:25 AM

Opinion: We need to save languages as well as species

Peter Culshaw / The Arts Desk
...Abley also has some splendidly wacky encounters such as the last two surviving speakers of an Aboriginal language who are forbidden by tribal taboos from talking to each other. And the last surviving speaker of one Amazonian language, which is a parrot.
  • Mar 31, 2012
  • 03:05 PM

Keeping Inuit Students Engaged: School Programs Incorporate Inuktitut, Day Care (video)

Indian Country Today Media
...a video she coordinated profiles unique school programs in Nunavut that integrate Inuit culture into the curriculum to keep students engaged. Single mothers such as 19-year-old Eva Kakkik, who might not otherwise graduate from high school, are now able to finish their education thanks to on-site day-care service in one school, which enables her to see her 3-year-old son throughout the day.
  • Mar 30, 2012
  • 05:51 PM

Cree language being lost as people migrate to urban areas

Lenny Carpenter / Wawatay News
As more Mushkegowuk people leave their reserve to live in the city, the more the Cree language will be lost, says Anastasia Wheesk, Native Education Co-ordinator at the Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre in Timmins. “To me, seems like the Cree language is diminishing quickly,” Wheesk said.