The Native Language is not part of the American educational system. It is not even part of foreign language (or foreign to English speaking populations) selection. Instead Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Italian are offered in most foreign language studies. These offerings perpetuate the establishment of a non-native society.
There is power in language. The use of language to bond people in purpose is evident. Likewise, denial of Native Americans to learn and speak their native tongue weakens them and helps to destroy their community. The historical forceful mandate to only communicate in the European languages, specifically English, forced Native Americans to assimilate into the European culture, lifestyle, and community. It hindered the ability for Native Americans to keep their culture alive. It was indeed cultural genocide.
To encourage the revitalization of Native American languages determine your tribal affiliation and learn its language. Start with the basics, which are conversational words or phrases such as hello, good-bye, how are you?, and others basic words or greetings. This is a good start. Continue to build on this effort each day learning new words or phrases. Then begin to introduce your family and friends to the language. This renews the Native American language and brings you closer to reclaiming culture and heritage.
Article by CherokeeCloud -8/16/2006
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