The Use Of American Indian Languages On The Decline

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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…show more content…
My current generation is facing greater struggles than previous generations, in order to retain their native languages for varying reason. However, the main hindrance can be traced to the US government’s implementation of Indian Boarding Schools, since then, the number of speakers have dwindled as each generation has become more reluctant to pass their knowledge onto the next, whether because of traumatic events, or a place in Western society that is not supportive of American Indian heritage. Indian Boarding Schools have created a lasting effect on tribes across the country. Children were ripped from their homes, tribes, and cultures to be educated by churches, specifically Catholic ones, with the support of the US Government. While the government claimed that it was to give the indigenous youth a better life, in actuality they destroyed cultural and linguistic heritages, legal and religious freedom, and societal structures within tribes. After the era of Indian Boarding Schools, those that were forced into attendance were left traumatized. Theodore Fontaine says in his article “I am always apprehensive to speak about what happened to me at residential schools. Sometimes I get
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