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Beautiful Language: Cherokee Style

Language, how important is it to our heritage and history? Deep within the past lies the words and phrases of our ancestors. If we take the time to learn their names and their locations, should we not take the time to understand their culture, their customs, and their words? The Piedmont region of North Carolina contains boundless unique cultures and languages from the past. Every habit, lifestyle, and belief from long ago wishes to plant a seed in the next generation. This action is not as prevalent as it was in earlier generations. Why is this true?

Have we changed so much as a society that we no longer believe that former lifestyles can offer tremendous benefits for the future? In 2019, the Tri-Council of Cherokee Tribes became concerned about their language. They declared a state of emergency because an extinction was becoming clear and happening right before their eyes. The Cherokee language was disappearing. Since the 1960s, a steady decline in active Cherokee speakers was evident as grandparents and parents no longer spoke the language. New programs introduced in the schools were now essential to preserve the Cherokee language and their heritage. By 2019, less than a few hundred people could speak fluent Cherokee. Without the actions of the Tri-Council of Cherokee Tribes, the Cherokee language would remain lost in the past.

Language can be the brick wall between understanding the past and our families. Various long-ago phrases and sayings can bridge communication gap barriers between the present and the past. Is it imperative in genealogy to learn the language of your ancestor? Only you can make that decision. With today’s technology and online presence, you can efficiently understand and discover nearly every language.

The Cherokee Nation designed free online lessons conducted by the Language Department. Why are the classes free? To ensure the longevity of the Cherokee language and to preserve the history of the Cherokee families. Do you have Cherokee ancestors? What about German ancestors? What is the language of your family during the 17th century? ᎧᏃᎮᏛᏃ ᎯᎠ ᏄᏍᏗ, ᎦᏙ ᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎯᎲᎦ ᏣᏤᎵ ᏏᏓᏁᎸᎯ ᎤᎾᏤᎵ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ? (Translation: The question is, how do you define your family heritage?)

ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎬ ᎢᎦᏘᏯᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏐ ᎢᎦᏤᎵ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎢᏣᎵᎮᎵᎨᏍᏗ ᏣᎢᏒ ᎠᏁᏙᎲᎢ.

Language is part of our heritage. Enjoy Your Journey to the Past.

  • ᎢᏓᎵᏅᏟ brother tso s da da nv tli
  • ᎤᎸᎢ sister u lv
  • ᎤᏥ mother e tsi
  • ᎡᏙᏓ father e do da
  • ᎤᏃᎴ wind u no le
  • ᏅᏙ ᏒᏃᏱ ᎡᎯ moon sv no yi – e hi – nv dv
  • Ꮡn sun nv da

Sources:

  1. Cherokee Dictionary by Prentice Robinson published by Cherokee Language and Culture Tulsa, Oklahoma 1996
  2. Video presentation by Professor Lawrence Panther
  3. theonefeather.com article dating 2019

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