Native American Heritage Day

Yá’át’ééh! Wingapo! These are greetings in Navajo and Piscataway, respectively — two Indigenous North American languages you can learn about in Planet Word’s Spoken World gallery. Today, around 150 Indigenous languages are spoken in the U.S., but most are endangered, and many others have already gone extinct.

In recognition of Native American Heritage Day, we’ve curated a selection of resources about vital efforts to preserve these languages that you can view below.

Glenna Slater and Umoⁿhoⁿ Language Stewardship

In this Omaha Magazine article, read about Glenna Slater’s language preservation efforts. Fluent Umoⁿhoⁿ speakers like Slater are a rare and vital resource — and often all that stands between an endangered language and extinction.

Why Indigenous Languages Matter

In this TEDx Talk, Lindsey Morcom, a linguist and member of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, explores the cultural and linguistic importance of indigenous languages, and what can be done to save them. Her Canadian perspective is relevant to language preservation efforts in the United States and beyond.

Omaha & Ponca Digital Dictionary

Digital dictionaries like this one, developed at the University of Nebraska, help preserve, spread, and improve access to endangered languages. Search it for words and phrases in Umoⁿhoⁿ and Ponca — which are distinct but similar languages in the Siouan family.

Language Revitalization Organizations and Programs

There are many organizations working to preserve and encourage the use of endangered languages around the globe. These are just a few of them.

The Indigenous Language Institute serves all indigenous communities working to revitalize their languages in North and South America, with services such as workshops, trainings, and symposiums.

Learn more

A collaborative Smithsonian program, Recovering Voices partners with communities around the world to revitalize endangered languages and knowledge. One of its many initiatives, the Mother Tongue Film Festival, showcases films that celebrate language diversity.

Learn more

The Language Conservancy has developed a range of techniques and technological resources to document and revitalize endangered languages across North America.

Learn more

Wikitongues preserves languages through a crowdsourced database with resources on more than 700 languages, as well as direct support to language activists through trainings and grants.

Learn more

Omaha Language Resources

500+ Verbs in UmoNhoN (Omaha)
Alice Saunsoci and Ardis Eschenberg

Bookshop

This book documents the conjugations of over 500 verbs in the Omaha language. It includes an overview of basic sentence structure, as well the most common conjugation patterns. Written primarily for tribal members for language revitalization, it avoids linguistic jargon and employs the writing system used by the tribal college and public schools.

 

The Omaha Language and the Omaha Way
Mark Awakuni-Swetland (editor)

Bookshop

The Omaha Language and the Omaha Way provides a comprehensive textbook for students, scholars, and laypersons to learn to speak and understand the language of the Omaha Nation.

 

Omaha Vocab Builder App

App Store    Google Play

Build your Umóⁿhoⁿ vocabulary with this FREE vocabulary game for your smart phone or tablet. Quiz yourself every day to learn different categories — wild animals, food, drinks, and more!

 

 

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