St. Regis Mohawk Tribe focuses on language and cultural efforts

The Akwesasne Freedom School Language Nest will use a $100,000 grant for its Mohawk language immersion daycare. Photo: St. Regis Mohawk Tribe

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe awarded $300,000 in grants for language and cultural programs on the reservation in New York.

The Akwesasne Freedom School’s Language Nest, the Akwesasne Cultural Center and the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment are each receiving $100,000. The money comes out of a settlement fund that the tribe secured to address pollution of its ancestral territory.

"I am pleased that deserving groups within our community have been awarded funding to help their efforts to restore and strengthen the Mohawk language and our cultural connection with the environment,” Chief Eric Thompson said in a press release. “Our language is intrinsically linked to the traditional teachings associated with many of our natural resources.”

In related news, the tribe announced a change to its Mohawk language program after hearing from its citizens. The goal is to increase participation and produce more fluent speakers of Kanien’kéha by offering classes in the evenings and on weekends.

"Many of us have taken Mohawk language classes in the school system every year from K5 through grade 12, but are not fluent language speakers," Starr Thomas of the tribe's historic preservation department, said in a press release. "Given the downward participation in our language lab, we knew changes were needed.”

Read More on the Story:
Pollution settlement between St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Alcoa, Reynolds and state to fund Akwesasne cultural projects (North County Now 4/5)