Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation language programs are working

Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker. Photo from Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker touts the success of tsalagi tsunadeloquasdi, the tribe's language immersion school:
Our Cherokee Language Immersion School children successfully competed in a language competition at the University of Oklahoma; we showcased our culture to the world at the Smithsonian’s Cherokee Days; and we’ve done something no other tribe has done—introduced a television and online program called “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People,” which highlights the stories, language, history and culture of the Cherokee people.

Last month our immersion school kids traveled to Norman to compete in the 13th annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair, a competition that showcased the skills of young Native speakers from more than a dozen Oklahoma tribes. They made all of us so proud, as they brought home awards and recognition from many categories.

This is a testament to the efforts and achievements of our Cherokee language programs. Our immersion school teaches children from pre-K to eighth grade all the subjects required by the state of Oklahoma, but entirely in the Cherokee language. The school has become a model for all other tribes in the preservation and advancement of native languages.

Get the Story:
Bill John Baker: Cherokee culture, language and customs not only being preserved, but advanced (The Grove Sun 4/22)

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