Only three elders fluent in Oneida in Wisconsin

Only three elderly women of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin can speak the Oneida language fluently.

In hopes of preventing Oneida disappearing, the tribe is using a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation to pass it on to future generations. A web site will be set up for the language, which only uses 15 letters and three symbols.

"There is still an ember left that's burning," Leander Danforth, the only fluent speaker under age 85, told The Chicago Tribune. "We can get that ember burning and get a fire started, or that ember could go out."

Of the three elders, one 94-year-old woman recently suffered a stroke.

Get the Story:
Tribe's matriarchs speak to nation's past (The Chicago Tribune 1/7)

$rl Oneida Nation -