The Use Of American Indian Languages On The Decline

1542 Words May 5th, 2016 7 Pages
Use of American Indian languages is on the decline in the US, and will continue to do so unless a greater pressure is put on language preservation. As an outsider, it is hard for me to watch so many cultures and languages die out, and even harder for those who love their cultures and heritage slowly having lesser importance within their Westernizing lives. While there are many aspects affecting cultural survival from outside the tribes themselves, there is also an internal struggle that outsiders don’t get a glimpse of. Many of the younger generations were explicitly not taught their native languages by their elder, facing backlash for leaving to receive an educated that they were originally encouraged to do, and changing age dynamics on reservations.
It is first important to understand the youth’s perspective on the value of knowing their tribe’s language. I reached out one of my friends, Jordan, who is actively involved in her tribe’s culture. She belongs to the Navajo tribe in Northwestern New Mexico. When asked whether she spoke Navajo, her response was, “I don’t speak the language anymore, although I used to when I was younger, and since then I’ve only taken a language course once in college… Most kids don 't know their language because their parents didn 't learn it, and it 's usually because their grandparents didn 't teach them due to the trauma of Indian Boarding Schools… A lot of kids don 't see it as a priority to learn the language itself, because there 's no…
Open Document