Native American Heritage Month

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, we’ve curated a selection of resources below to help you discover, celebrate, and honor the vast contributions of Indigenous linguists, orators, singers, authors, and poets, whose words and work continue to remind us of the power of words.

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.

Languages are more than just words — they embody heritage and culture, as well, and ensure they are transmitted to future generations. We urge you to support and celebrate efforts to revitalize Indigenous languages like those listed 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, Lindsay 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.

Words Matter, Stories Matter

Explore Native American poetry and culture with this collection of contemporary poets, poems, and articles curated by the Poetry Foundation.

Explore the collection

Languages Matter

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.

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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