Language Fair Draws Over 650 Native Youth

Earlier this month, over 650 students in grades Pre-K through 12 participated in the 10th annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair in Norman, Oklahoma. Students competed in categories such as spoken language, poetry, language with song, and poster art. The skill and creativity of the participants were note-worthy, with crowd favorites including a Cherokee rendition of “The Twist” complete with poodle-skirted dancers.

Check out some of the footage of the event posted on Youtube to see what a great time everyone was having.

This year’s competition drew members of over 20 nations, including tribes from as far away as the American Southwest and Alabama. Parents and teachers of the students praised the popular fair, saying that the annual event gives the children something to look forward to every year. For many students, the opportunity to come together with other children also on the front lines of indigenous language revitalization efforts instills a deeper sense of purpose. It also provides each student with extra motivation to be at the top of his or her linguistic game—you want to beat the team who beat yours last year!

If you didn’t get to go to the fair this year, don’t worry—students are already planning what they’re going to do for next year’s competition. Look for applications to be made available for next year’s fair from the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History’s Native American Languages department in January of 2013.

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