03.22.05

Cherokee Revival

Posted in Language, Rabbits at 9:07 pm by Mithridates

Some info about Cherokee language revival through immersion classes (note that the Cherokee word for rabbit makes an appearance):

The program started in fall 2003 with kindergarten and classes for 3-year-olds. This year the program expanded to include first grade.

“We do what other classes do but it’s all in Cherokee,” says Anna Christie who teaches a combined kindergarten and first-grade class at the school. Ms. Christie talks to them in Cherokee, calling the children by their Indian names. At naptime, she tells Matthew Keener or “Yo-na” (Bear) not to put his mat too close to Lane Smith “A-wi” (Deer).

Cherokee songs play softly in the room. A Cherokee calendar hangs on the wall. Students practice writing words and numbers in Cherokee. First grader Casandra Copeland, “Ji-s-du” (Rabbit), counts aloud in Cherokee.

It’s called an immersion class because the children speak nothing but Cherokee. The Cherokee Nation in nearby Tahlequah, Oklahoma creates the curriculum.

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