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Opinion: Native language preservation can't wait

"Indian Country faces a historically unparalleled affront to our cultural survival. Of the 300 Native languages spoken at the time of European contact, it is estimated only 20 of these languages will still be viable in 2050. The rest will be irrevocably lost, and with them will go the traditional knowledge that has sustained our people since time immemorial.

The impact will not be limited to Indian Country alone. The loss of cultural, spiritual, medicinal and historical indigenous knowledge has ramifications for all.

If we continue to ignore these truths, this loss will come to pass just as certainly as the sun continues to rise and set in the sky. Yet, just as an eclipse shows us that sometimes the inevitable patterns of nature can be altered, so do we have the ability to change our future when it comes to saving our languages. But we cannot wait. '

Get the Story:
Richard B. Williams: Endangered languages of our ancestors can flourish again (The Denver Post 8/26)

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