The Cherokee Language Is Still Alive

1404 Words6 Pages
The question is if the Cherokee language is still alive. Is this language still spoken? Yes, it is. The Cherokee language is classified linguistically as a member of the Iroquoian family, spoken by the Cherokee people, originally inhabiting Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. As a consequence of colonization, however, the Cherokee nation almost suffered destruction during the infamous Trail of Tears, 1838-1839, the forced removal of more than fifteen thousand people. Now, in the twenty-first century, the Cherokee make up one of the biggest Native American tribes within the U.S. with over 300,000 members. Despite their language’s gravely endangered status, they are within the top ten of large groups of indigenous language speakers. However, they had to overcome many struggles. Among members of Cherokee Nation in the northeast of Oklahoma, there are only a few under the age of 40 who can be considered fluent speakers of the Cherokee language (Cherokee Nation, 2003). This survey by the Cherokee Nation was conducted of 115,026 Cherokee citizens who live within the 14 counties of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Thus, children are not acquiring the language at home as there is a lack of parents being native speakers. Consequently, UNESCO (2003) labels Cherokee as “definitely endangered.” But how come the parents and even the parents of parents do not speak their native tongue anymore? To answer this, one must know
Get Access