The preservation of language and culture of necessity must be something more than a talking point or an avenue of funding,
It must be a priority as the results of assimilation have become all too common and obvious.
No one is ever to old to learn, in fact I doubt there is a single person who doesn’t or is incapable of learning something new each day unless there is a health issue of some sort.
You would have to live in a cave to not be subjected to all the trinkets and baubles of modern society.
Associated advertising attempts to portray them one and all as essentials as part of a seductively crafted strategy.
Yet I can think of few things more essential than language – a second language for the nations is an obvious necessity, but English should be exactly that for us or any ethnic group.
It is language with all it’s nuances that defines culture, ceremonies, and traditions, a definition that is lacking when a culture loses it’s native tongue.
As the language goes so do all other things, that is an indisputable fact.
The survival of any endangered language is a triumph, nations in a very real sense become endangered when their language declines, and while there seems to be an interest by the non indigenous to learn our languages the greater triumph, the more meaningful one, will be for all within the nations to become fluent rather than leaving it to others.
For any ethnic group language has to do with survival as a distinct and viable people.
The Cherokee as I understand it have begun a program to that end, if I’m not mistaken the only requirement is that a student be an enrolled member of one of their three federally recognized tribes.
Students are PAID a stipend of four hundred dollars to learn, and yet with all the talk reverberating across the nations about the importance of language I am given to understand the Cherokee program has a mere four students.
In this age of “political correctness” taken to the extreme I have no qualms in expressing the opinion that there is something inherently wrong if the fluency of our languages will at some point reside with others, I would in fact resent such a scenario and people can make of that what they will.
As long as a single person of each of the nations speaks the language we remain, if none do I believe a strong case can be made that the eugenics of assimilation and language loss will have prevailed and we will exist on a level entirely different than ever before.
No fault accrues to an individual when their native tongue wasn’t the language spoken in the home – the same cannot be said if they never make the effort to learn, and in learning pay it forward.