Indigenous

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South African and European Universities Form Consortium to Boost Use of Indigenous Languages

South Africa’s university system notoriously lacks instructional programs offered in the nation’s Indigenous languages, like isiXhosa and Sesotho. Currently, English and Afrikaans are the only languages widely used in university-level coursework, however even Afrikaans’ future is not entirely certain (see Language Magazine’s coverage of UNISA’s ban on the language in instruction from earlier this summer)….

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Comanche Nation Charters Dual-Language Academy

The Comanche Nation has begun enrolling students in the Comanche Academy Charter School in Lawton, Oklahoma. The charter school with include instruction in both English and the Comanche language Numunu. According to the Academy’s website, A Comanche-centered education combines the mind, body and spirit. The mind (cognition) cannot be separate from education for the body….

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Crow Language Consortium Receives Federal Funds

The Crow Language Consortium (CLC) has received $10,000 through Humanities Montana’s Sustaining the Humanities Through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) grant program. This rapid-response funding provides general operating support to the state’s museums, historic sites, and other humanities-focused nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. “This funding is vital for the Crow Language Consortium to…

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Losing Languages Means Losing Remedies

The media frequently discusses language decline in terms of numbers alone—many of us have likely heard the oft-cited statistic that one language goes extinct every three months or the projection that 30% of the world’s languages will be extinct by the end of the 21st century. Language extinction triggers the loss of unique medicinal knowledge,…

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Linguistic Diversity Declines in Papua New Guinea

Traditional dancing at the Mask Festival, Kokopo, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea—frequently heralded as the most linguistically diverse place in the entire world—is in the middle of a language crisis. According to a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the…

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Cherokee Linguist Honored by Senate Act and Center

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chair of the committee, have introduced the Durbin Feeling Native American Languages Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation marks the 30th anniversary of the Native American Languages Act by ensuring federal efforts meet the goal…

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Learning Guna on the Radio

When we talk about remote or distance learning, we often think of things like Zoom meetings, recorded lectures or Canvas assignments, but a group of teachers from Panama’s Indigenous Guna community is adding another dimension to the term, broadcasting lessons over the country’s public radio system. According to a report from La Prensa Latina, the…

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Call for Sweden to Recognize Elfdalian

Sweden’s magical forests are home to Elfdalian, an ancient, endangered language A Swedish parliamentary representative is calling for action to preserve an extremely vulnerable language spoken in Sweden’s forested countryside: Elfdalian (älvdalska in Swedish and övdalsk in the language itself). Currently, the Swedish government only recognizes Elfdalian as a dialect of Swedish, despite the two…