To Save A Dying Language
These youngsters parents were mocked for speaking Cherokee while their grandparents were punished, but Cherokee is the only language these children will speak in their public school classroom.
It is a modest start for these kindergarteners in their
classroom but the Cherokee language will continue throughout their school years. According to this AP report,
it is hoped by immersing the children in the language of their ancestors, tribal leaders are hoping to save one of the many endangered American Indian languages.
Annette Millard, the non-Cherokee superintendent of the Lost City School, about 50 miles east of Tulsa, realizes the language is going to be gone “if we don’t do something to save it and the best people to learn it are kids in the developmental stage of kindergarten.” There are about 100 students in the school with two thirds of them from the tribe.
While many tribes are trying to revive their language, it is difficult for Oklahoma Indians where the people generally do not live on reservations and attend public schools. Millard heard the plea about saving the language from the chief of the Cherokee Nation. She started learning the language, herself, along with her staff. BY THE WAY, the Cherokee Nation is paying the salaries of the teacher and an assistant.
Tribal leaders hope the program begun in Lost City will help to save their dying language.