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Posts tagged ‘Chickasaw Language’

One Chickasaw Citizen’s View on the Passing of the Last Monolingual Speaker of the Chickasaw Language

“…For her, she saw the world from a Chickasaw worldview, without the interference of English at all.”

Josh Hinson, Director of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program

(From the recent NPR article “What Happens When a Language’s Last Monolingual Speaker Dies”)

–She was the last person who knew the world only through Chickasaw.

I am not good at languages.  I tried as an undergraduate to learn Spanish. I took an entire year of daily Spanish language classes and worked with a tutor the entire time and I was unable to learn more than a few simple phrases, not even enough to get me by living in the border state of Arizona.  What I  did learn was that I didn’t even know English grammar well enough to think about another language and its use of grammar.

However, I have to say, I’ve been hit hard by the news of the recent death of Emily Johnson Dickerson, the last monolingual speaker of the Chickasaw language. I did not know her, but she is symbolic and represents the passing of an age. Last year, I spent some time at the Chickasaw Nation and I learned that there were only about 70 some speakers of Chickasaw. At the time this alarmed me.  But, late last week we learned that the last person who had only a Chickasaw worldview had died. Well, this –to me—is staggering.  According to Chickasaw elder Catherine Wilmond, if we lose our language, the world will end (see her talk about this here).

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Yakoke hotokot chiapelachi

Chukma! As the end of the year approaches, we at Homahota Consulting would like to say “yakoke hotfoot chiapelachi” or thank you for your support (Chickasaw Language).  This year has been one of tremendous growth. We have been honored to work with a number of local, regional and national tribes and organizations. We worked with an Arizona Native Nation on a tribal business project, helped several Native non-profits leverage their grants funds to improve their communities, we spoke to national audiences raising awareness about the importance of digital inclusion for Tribal communities and Native Nations, and have launched an extensive email and social media campaign to improve our communication with you. We know that more communities need a stronger voice so we are challenging ourselves to keep going and we look forward to many new projects in 2014.

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