Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reviving An Indigenous Language for Everyday Use

Photo Courtesy of Aubs Momberg.
December 26, 2016.
Adrian Jawort of Indian Country Today raised attention on the efforts Robert Hall (Blackfeet) from Montana who has been fighting to spread the dwindling language of the Blackfoot Nation. He tells of the difference in how many people speak his native language Pikuni between his childhood and today, where he grew up. Expanding of how native American languages have suffered since the time of Columbus. "American Indian children in both Canada and the United States were forcibly taken from families and sent to boarding schools …They were beaten for speaking the languages first heard across these lands”.

Maatoomsstatoos’s (known as Robert Hall) life changed after his professor told him of the benefits in learning and speaking his native language. His professor Stephen Greymorning (Arapaho) taught him that to know your native language is to know you ancestors through how they spoke and thought. Maatoomsstatoos volunteers to teach classes throughout the reservation on a weekly basis, hosts a local radio broadcast that highlights Pikuni learning, and is in the publishing process for a book on schedule to be published in 2017.

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