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
Dynamic Homes
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:
Native Sun News: EPA hears Native views about uranium mining (5/27)
Renae Yellowhorse: Navajo Nation can't cede power to outsiders (5/27)
Donna Loring: Politicians circle the wagons around Maine tribes (5/27)
David Treuer: Andrew Jackson turned on Cherokee Nation allies (5/27)
NCAI responds to criticism from Rep. Young on land-into-trust (5/27)
Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (5/27)
Hopi Tribe seeks to prevent auction of sacred property in France (5/27)
Indian students face harsh punishment at public schools in Utah (5/27)
Menominee Nation school sees dramatic rise in graduation rate (5/27)
Poarch Creeks planning family-friendly entertainment at project (5/27)
Coquille Tribe names executive at economic development entity (5/27)
Cherokee law students eager for summer work on Indian issues (5/27)
USDA sends $125K to Indian economic development corporation (5/27)
County by Pine Ridge Reservation receives justice service grant (5/27)
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to challenge Sen. John McCain in 2016 race (5/27)
Law Article: Indian inmate wins religious rights suit in Wisconsin (5/27)
Alaska Native corporation holds election for five seats on board (5/27)
Blood Tribe combats rise in abuse of extremely dangerous drug (5/27)
First Nations housing program brings just 99 homes to reserves (5/27)
Supreme Court won't hear challenge to Graton Rancheria casino (5/27)
Kialegee Tribal Town given extension to respond in gaming case (5/27)
Quapaw Tribe looks to dispel concerns about casino in Arkansas (5/27)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles in plan to develop casino in Indiana (5/27)
California tribes still divided over efforts to legalize online poker (5/27)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe tackles school truancy (5/26)
Mark Trahant: Native village secures return of ancestral territory (5/26)
Secretary Jewell leads delegation to Indian school in Oklahoma (5/26)
Updated witness list for SCIA hearing on economic development (5/26)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules meeting and hearing (5/26)
Mary Ann Andreas: Candidates must keep informed about tribes (5/26)
Steve Russell: National sovereignty cannot cloak all evil conduct (5/26)
Gabriel Galanda: The tide is turning against tribal disenrollments (5/26)
Vince Two Eagles: Summertime means powwows and Sundances (5/26)
Boyd Cothran: America moves from Civil War to the Indian Wars (5/26)
Vivian Delgado: Native college graduates mark a rite of passage (5/26)
Blackfeet Nation adds 162 names to Montana veterans memorial (5/26)
Native women compete in first Miss Indigenous Ecuador contest (5/26)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe asks BIA to inspect financial documents (5/26)
Maine tribes hold rally after withdrawing from state Legislature (5/26)
Chemehuevi Tribe to reopen elementary school on reservation (5/26)
Arguments heard in lawsuit over federal judge's racist e-mails (5/26)
Appropriations bill allows VA hospitals to recommend marijuana (5/26)
Editorial: Navajo Nation leader makes right call on Grand Canyon (5/26)
Opinion: Andrew Jackson led horrifying campaigns against tribes (5/26)
Cayuga Nation Leaders: Tribe hasn't authorized gaming facilities (5/26)
Pair last seen at San Pasqual casino found on nearby reservation (5/26)
Chukchansi Tribe remains in talks with NIGC for casino reopening (5/26)
Pala Band finishes $5.7M casino renovation in just a few months (5/26)
Leader of Sandia Pueblo accused of preventing arrest at casino (5/26)
Tim Giago: Boot camp etched forever into the minds of veterans (5/25)
Native Sun News: Newspaper comes home with 14 media awards (5/25)
Gyasi Ross: Martin Sensmeier lands role in major Hollywood film (5/25)
Andre Cramblit: Let's see some real Indian actors on the screen (5/25)
Steven Newcomb: U.S. perpetuates dominance over our nations (5/25)
Valerie Goodness: Don't ignore indigenous ecological knowledge (5/25)
Peter d'Errico: Lawmakers kill bill for indigenous rights in Canada (5/25)
Matthew Scraper: ICWA opponents wrong to cite blood quantum (5/25)
Judge at center of ICWA lawsuit in South Dakota stripped of title (5/25)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne student receives top honor (5/22)
Lakota Country Times: Newspaper takes home a slew of awards (5/22)
James Davies: The new tactic is to pretend racism doesn't exist (5/22)
Thomas O'Rourke: Yurok Tribe is a leader in forest restoration (5/22)
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.