The Disappearing Native American Languages
Over the years, Native American tribes have seen a drastic disappearance in the languages that were once used to communicate. However, it’s almost impossible to estimate the number of the languages that have been lost. The loss of these languages has led to a loss of some of the greatest works of oral communication ever produced. There has been a consorted effort to preserve these languages with the help of the Internet. Nevertheless, the sad truth is that these languages are on the verge of extinction. Out of the many languages spoken, one of the most common was Navajo.
Navajo is so far the most commonly spoken Native language in the U.S., with about 170,000 speakers. Navajo, firmly associated with Apache, is in the Athabaskan language family, which incorporates 44 dialects spoken in the U.S. The Navajo Nation has started a few bilingual language immersion schools for children and the Navajo vocabulary has been extended to accommodate modern technological terms. Diné College, Navajo Technical University, the Institute of American Indian Arts, South-western Indian Polytechnic Institute, the Arizona and New Mexico community colleges and a few junior colleges teach the Navajo language. Moreover, to pay a tribute to the language, the Superbowl was communicated in Navajo in 1996 and in 2013, the motion picture Star Wars was translated into Navajo to try and promote the language.
Central Alaskan Yupik has the biggest number of speakers of any Alaska Native language. Nearly 50% of the Yupik population is native speakers. This means that there is still hope for Yupik. Kids grow up speaking Yupik as their first language in 17 of 68 Yupik towns, as indicated by the Native American Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. However, the entire Siberian Yupik population in Alaska is much smaller with around 1,100 individuals. This is why it is still the second most spoken Native language, after Navajo.
This incorporates three dialects, spoken in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska. As indicated by the UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World\’s Languages in Danger, the Yankton-Yanktonai tongue is fundamentally spoken in the Yankton and Crow Creek Reservations and in the northern region of the Standing Rock Reservation. Teton (Lakota) is spoken on the Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Sisseton Reservations, and the southern region of Standing Rock. Off-reservation speakers live in Rapid City, Minneaoplis, and other upper Midwest urban communities. Sioux is also spoken in a few Canadian territories.
Apart from these, Apache, Rio Grande Keresan, Cherokee, and Choctaw are each spoken by around 10,000 and 15,000 individuals only. Clearly, these languages are slowly vanishing and it won’t be too long before we come across a generation that raises eyebrows at even coming across the names of these tribes that would only seem like mumbo-jumbo not long from today.
The need to preserve these languages is strong. If you want to feel connected to your tribe, it’s important that you take certain measures, like investing in authentic Navajo art and jewellery to store them as souvenirs. You could use these to introduce younger generations to the ideologies of Native American Indian tribes. If you’re looking for quality Navajo merchandise, check out the wide selection of products at Navajo-Artist. The aesthetically pleasing and abstract representation of the tribe can be seen in the form of Navajo Indian art on canvas and crafts.
June 2, 2022 @ 10:04 am
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