indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Tim Giago: Native youth lose connection to ancestral languages

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: languages, tim giago, youth
     


Tim Giago. Photo by Talli Nauman

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)

My granddaughter will be seven-years-old in October. Like many children that age she is bright and she is inquisitive. Her name is Juneau.

Case in point: She posed this question to her grandmother; “Is the world coming to an end?” Her grandmother was a bit taken back by this inquiry and responded, “I don’t know the answer to that; only God knows.” As quick as a whip Juneau quipped, “What about Google?”

“Out of the mouths of babes,” might be applicable here. Or as Art Linkletter posed it, “Kids say the darndest things!”

But it has to make the average person stop and think. Has technology taken us to the point where our children believe that it is the answer to all questions? Has Google become so all knowing, all powerful and all seeing that it is viewed as the equation or equal to God?

It makes a person look back at where they have been and look forward and wonder where it is all going. I stopped to get a Coke and burger at MacDonald’s last week and watched two teenage girls seated at a booth next to me. They never said a word during the time I observed them, but instead had their thumbs going like crazy on their cell phones. They stopped texting just long enough to sip their soft drinks and take a bite of their burgers and fries. But they never said a word. What is going to happen to the art of conversation?

When I was a boy nearly everyone in the village of Kyle or Pejuta Haka (Medicine Root) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where I was raised spoke the Lakota language. As nearly every language is converted to text I wonder if the young people on the reservation will text in Lakota or English. I would have to assume that they will text in English. When I questioned several Lakota teenagers at a basketball tournament last year they all said that they always text in English.

In an editorial I wrote that was directed at the teachers on the Indian reservations several months ago I posed this question to them: Are the young people in your classrooms texting in English or Lakota? Will they lose the foundation of their Native tongue because of technology? Not a single teacher on the reservation or anywhere in Indian Country where my newspaper reaches responded to my question. Is it because they do not know the answer to that question or have they even bothered to consider it?

There are those in Indian Country who believe that the loss of the language means the loss of the culture, but that may not necessarily be so because every Native American civilization in North America that is still here has adapted to the rapid changes that have occurred since the invasion of their country. The rapidity of change has nearly overwhelmed every culture and nationality on this continent.

The time from the horse and buggy to a man on the moon has happened in the blink of an eye. Now even some Christians are saying that Noah had dinosaurs on the Ark. If that be so then the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere, peoples who have existed on these continents for more than 30,000 years, must have hunted and eaten dinosaurs. Ah ha, one million BC revisited.

My granddaughter Juneau wanted to know if the world was going to end. I would have to tell her that “yes” it will end eventually, and “yes” Google will tell you the same thing.

But, I will have to add that conversation in any language may go first.

Tim Giago, Nanwica Kciji (Stands Up For Them), was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He is the author of 4 books and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in the class of 1991 and can be reached at editor@nsweekly.com


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Gathering scheduled in June at site of former BIA insane asylum (4/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal college student overcomes challenges (4/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ancestors are gone but language lives on (4/29)
Mike Rounds: Eliminate 'hateful' and 'paternalistic' federal laws (4/29)
Harlan McKosato: White privilege fuels Donald Trump's fanbase (4/29)
Indian Health Service faulted for lengthy waits for patient care (4/29)
Mescalero Apache woman to compete for Miss United States (4/29)
Environmental Protection Agency pays little to tribes for spill (4/29)
Measure to declare bison as official mammal ready for Obama (4/29)
John Wayne's negative views about tribes resurface in debate (4/29)
Chumash Tribe picks Kenneth Kahn as first new leader in years (4/29)
Mille Lacs Band announces upgrades as casino marks 25 years (4/29)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees warmer reception to casino bid (4/29)
Florida racks up legal bills in gaming fight with Seminole Tribe (4/29)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe sues Indian Health Service over shutdown (4/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves eight bills at meeting (4/28)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe to debut justice center (4/28)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne official fired from tribal job (4/28)
Native Sun News: Comments sought on Black Hills mine cleanup (4/28)
Editorial: Native Sun News endorses Hillary Clinton for president (4/28)
Cronkite News: EPA slammed for response to Gold King Mine spill (4/28)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump advisor accuses tribes of terror plot (4/28)
Alex Jacobs: Hillary Clinton must answer to role in Honduras coup (4/28)
Northwest tribes inch closer to reburial of Kennewick Man remains (4/28)
Santee Sioux Tribe hosts task force to address substance abuse (4/28)
Huge crowds flock to New Mexico for annual Gathering of Nations (4/28)
Muckleshoot Tribe to host $50K 'Gold Cup' for Indian relay racing (4/28)
Member of Puyallup Tribe develops 'Teepee' tribal directory app (4/28)
Man in long fight with Shingle Springs Band faces longer sentence (4/28)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe enters gaming agreement with Mohegan Tribe (4/28)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees casino as a path to self-sufficiency (4/28)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe announces another hire at casino (4/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe welcomes rejection of rival casino bid (4/28)
Senate passes measure to include Indian Country in tourism plans (4/27)
Amanda Blackhorse to deliver commencement speech at Haskell (4/27)
Native Sun News: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe aims to stop pipeline (4/27)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge artist gains national recognition (4/27)
Brandon Ecoffey: 'Bull Dawg' represents the Oglala Lakota Nation (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Tribes endorse Native candidates for US Congress (4/27)
John Thune: Tribal citizens suffer with Indian Health Service care (4/27)
Cronkite News: Tribes support more protections at Grand Canyon (4/27)
Gabe Galanda: A moral responsibility to stop tribal disenrollment (4/27)
Vernice Moncooyea Willis: Bernie Sanders deserves our support (4/27)
Jennifer Denetdale: University must stop celebrating genocide (4/27)
Eastern Cherokee group hails Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act (4/27)
Leader of Fort Peck Tribes blames baby's death on drug abuse (4/27)
Chippewa Cree Tribe and FBI investigate theft of drugs at clinic (4/27)
Former comptroller of Crow Tribe accused of embezzling $28K (4/27)
Congress set to pass bill to declare bison as national mammal (4/27)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton moving closer to nominations (4/27)
Fond du Lac Band won't confirm plan for site adjacent to casino (4/27)
Graton Rancheria on track to complete $175M casino expansion (4/27)
Pokagon Band to debut casino expansion project by end of year (4/27)
Connecticut tribes delay decision on potential casino until 2017 (4/27)
Oregon Lottery official fired as Lewis and Clark ads come down (4/27)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.