Looking for some good news about Native Languages?
“The Ways” is an inspirational website produced by Wisconsin Media Lab that tells stories from the Native Communities around the Great Lakes. The site includes a beautiful video series and also an interactive map that tells the history of the Native communities in an easy to understand and engaging way.
The video stories are stunningly made. Each one highlights and explores contemporary Native culture and language in a unique way. So far there are 4, including a stories about a Native American rapper, Powwows, Lake Superior Whitefish, and there will be many more to come.
The following video shares the story of a father who is teaching his daughter Menominee as her first language:
Be sure to bookmark the website and check back for more videos!
The Navajo Nation has been given the green light from Lucasfilms to dub the original ‘Star Wars’ films into Diné. It will be the first major film to be dubbed in the language, and the first time ‘Star Wars’ has been dubbed into any Native American language. The Navajo Nation Museum and the Parks and Recreation Department are hoping to keep people speaking Diné and to encourage new speakers.
The film will debut at the Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, New Mexico on July 4th, and will be shown in theaters around New Mexico later in the year.
The Sac & Fox Nation have created a website to help teach people the Sauk Language. On the site are many resources to help making learning the language easy, including YouTube videos, dictionaries, games, stories, and workbook pages. The website is user-friendly, fun, and helpful for both children and adults. Also available on the website is a FREE copy of “Conversational Sauk, A Practical Guide to the Language of Black Hawk”.
You can also go to their Facebook page to find out information about community language classes and other updates.
Here is one of their videos where you can learn how to count to 10 in the Sauk Language:
The Chickasaw nation has started a fun new series called “Ofi’ Toklo” or “Two Dogs” to help children learn new Chickasaw words and phrases. Each episode stars two pups named Konta and Hottok as they go on an adventure. The episodes are kid friendly, educational, and interactive. These videos are so fun that kids are going to want to watch them over and over! New episodes are uploaded every Monday, so be sure to check back on their website each week to see what Konta and Hottok are up to, and to learn some new words!
Northern Arizona University’s College of Education is holding an endangered language conference from June 2-4, 2013 in Flagstaff, AZ. It will be the 20th annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium and the 4th American Indian/Indigenous Teacher Education Conference.
The conference is meant for language activists and community, K-12, preschool, college, and university educators. There will be a variety of panels, workshops, and papers presented to help encourage discussion about how to enrich lives and improve education for Indigenous children.
The goals of the conference, as listed on their website are:
To bring together community and language activists, educators, school administrators, school board members, tribal officials, and parents to share ideas and experiences on how to improve education and language revitalization programs for Indigenous communities.
To provide a forum for exchange of scholarly research on Indigenous language revitalization and teaching Indigenous children.
To disseminate through a monograph and web site recent research and thinking on Indigenous education and language revitalization best practices.
You can find more information and also register on their website:
Language learning can be difficult – from classes that only meet a couple times a week to boring software that collects dust, it is hard to find the motivation to continue the process. Thorton Media, Inc. is working to change that by combining language learning with something everyone loves – video games.
Since 1995, Thorton Media has been working to help save endangered languages by using new technologies, such as smartphone apps for writing, speaking, and reading different Native languages. Now, they have created the first level of a Cherokee language video game that is so fun, players forget that they are learning. They are hoping to expand to 8 levels and eventually offer it in many different languages, from Mandarin to Navajo. The game will be complete with action packed tasks, including fighting zombies and Big Foot, and the only way to pass is to speak the language correctly. They promise it will be engaging and worth-while, citing a study that found that people learn languages faster and retain the knowledge longer after using a video game for learning.
But they need YOUR help to keep the project going. There is a Kickstarter campaign set up for donations and with each donation, you receive a fun gift. For example, pledging $10 gives you a download of one of Thorton Media’s language learning apps and $50 gives you the first four levels of the language video game.
You can find out more information on their Kickstarter page. The campaign ends April 13th, so hurry and help out this awesome project looking to change the way languages are taught!
Here’s another great company helping to revitalize endangered languages. Wiiigwaas Press offers mono- and bi-lingual books and teaching materials in indigenous languages, specializing in Ojibwe. In order to help foster awareness and to promote Native American language centered-writing, they also host events and workshops for the Great Lakes-Great Plains region of the US.
You can purchase their books at:
And also check out more information and for new books and workshops on their Facebook page:
A new website is bringing together speakers of different endangered indigenous languages. Wiki for Indigenous Languages (WIL) is looking to become a new resource for teaching, documenting, and revitalizing endangered languages. The WIL only has one language available at the moment, Yaqui, but has place holders for seven other languages that are being developed soon.
It was started by a professor of world arts and cultures and advocate for endangered languages, David Delgado Shorter. The idea behind the website is to create a space for speakers of a language to be able to edit and add information about their language. For learners or others curious about the languages, it will provide a resource for the language as it lives today. The site is complete with games, dictionaries, pronunciation guides, grammar basics, and workbooks, among other great resources for learning a language.