andrekaruk at NCIDC.ORG
Mon Apr 14 17:03:04 UTC 2014
Tribes draw knowledge from monolingual speakers
From The Associated Press
BRIGGS, Okla. — Mack Vann sits in the living room of his single-story home in rural Oklahoma with the television blaring, a news reporter giving details of the latest grisly crime to hit the state.
But the 83-year-old Vann doesn’t understand most of what the reporter is saying. Vann, who speaks only Cherokee, instead focuses on the visitors to his home, many of whom know only a few simple words of Vann’s Native American language.
“Osiyo,” he says to his new visitors, the Cherokee word for hello.
Vann is part of a fading population of American Indians in Oklahoma who speak only their Native American language, no English. Though Oklahoma was once known as Indian Country and ranks second in the nation in the number of Native American residents, many of the tribal languages are endangered or vulnerable to falling out of use.
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