Grand Ronde Tribes produces dictionary for Chinuk language

The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde in Oregon have created the first Chinuk Waka dictionary.

The 496-page dictionary is based on decades of work between the tribe and Henry B. Zenk, an anthropologist. The tribe hopes it will lead the way to a new generation of speakers.

"It's part of our heritage, and we want to pass it on to future generations," Violet Folben, who is learning the language, told The Salem Statesman Journal.

Chinuk Waka was a common language used by tribes in Oregon and Washington. It developed from the Chinook language.

The last speaker of Chinuk Waka at Grande Ronde died in 2001 but some tribal members have since become fluent in the language.

Get the Story:
Preserving a native tongue: Tribe works to maintain elders' language (The Salem Statesman Journal 2/14)

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