Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Gettin' a degree in Cherokee

O-si-yo, y'all. I read today that Northeasteastern State University is now offering a 4 yr Bachelor's Degree in Cherokee Education. The program is aimed at future K-12 teachers and will include classes such as Elementary Cherokee, Conversational Cherokee, and Cherokee Cultural Heritage.

Either this is an excellent idea that is long overdue and will help to preserve and grow speakers of the Cherokee language, or it will attract every wannabe with a great-grandmother Cherokee princess in the greater Midwest. But hey, anyone who is willing to put in the work for a four year degree deserves some props.

Speaking of Cherokee (excuse the pun), I was surfing around the Official Cherokee Nation website and found some cool language stuff. You can take online Cherokee classes (requires registration), download the Cherokee font for your computer, or listen to Cherokee radio shows in Cherokee. Pretty cool. I wish we had a fraction of this stuff in Tewa.

Language preservation and growth is a Big Deal in Native communities. Check out Native Languages of the Americas and see what you can do to help, or talk to you elders or others in the community about how you can learn your own language.

Once we lose the language, we lose something integral to the culture and to the diversity of the human experience that cannot be recovered.

Picture of Cherokee Alphabet from http://www.turtletrack.org/Issues00/Co10072000/CO_10072000_Language.htm

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