Thursday, June 6, 2013
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Four years ago I took a class in the Arapaho language with Dr. Neyooxet Greymorning of the University of Montana. This is what I had learned after only 8 hours of instruction. It was 9 AM and I had crawled out of bed sick with a cold, but Dr. Greymorning filmed me being quizzed on what he had taught us during that first 8 hours of instruction using his ASLA (Accelerated Second Language Acquisition) method. I am not naturally good at picking up languages. I give all the credit to Dr. Greymorning and his teaching methodology in helping me to pick up these words and phrases!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
The Euchee (Yuchi) language is a critically endangered language spoken by the Euchee tribe in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, with only 4 fluent elder teachers remaining. It is also considered a language isolate—meaning it is not related to any other language on earth. But the Euchee tribe is doing amazing things to revitalize their language. They hold daily language apprenticeship meetings between the elders and youth in the morning and then some of these same proficient youth then teach others in preschool and after-school classes throughout the day. Recently, we visited the Euchee Language Project and filmed both the director of the program, Dr. Richard Grounds along with his daughter and lead language instructor Renée. Some of the last remaining fluent elder speakers were also filmed in conversation with one another. It was a privilege to be able to film the Euchee speaking their language and to be able to include some of this world treasure in the film.
Renée also told a Yuchi legend that has been passed down for generations and was passed down to the current generation by "Ida Clinton Riley when she was about 100 years old." Here is the video of Renée telling that legend in the Euchee language.
More information about the story and a transcription of the story are below. "Like most Yuchi legends, this story does not really have a title but the Euchee (Yuchi) Language Project recently adapted it for the stage and dubbed it “gOjEthl@ wAdAPakO@” (Monster’s Big Toe). The play was performed for the Euchee community solely in the Yuchi language in fall 2012.
gOjEthl@ - monster / big foot
shaCHwanE - rabbit
A long time ago, the creatures were there. shaCHwanE (rabbit) was there and gOjEthl@ (the monster) was there. gOjEthl@ wanted to eat the creatures, it took some of the children and took them to the woods and ate them. The creatures gathered together and asked each other, what are we going to do? What are we going to do? They asked. We don’t know. gOjEthl@ lives in the woods, no one can kill it. They thought like that and no one wanted to kill it. But shaCHwanE was there. shaCHwanE was very proud and was a smart aleck. “I can do it” rabbit said. “I can kill the monster!” rabbit said. The rabbit took an ax and looked for gOjEthl@ in the woods. shaCHwanE went along a while then found the cave where gOjEthl@ lives. The rabbit got there and went inside. shaCHwanE heard the monster breathing and got scared standing there. Then rabbit talked with the monster a little bit. They were friends. The rabbit talked like that, “my friend, my friend” when standing before the monster. Then they went to the stomp dance. When they danced, gOjEthl@ wanted to lead the dance. Then, when the monster was leading, the rabbit was dancing behind carrying an ax. shaCHwanE danced like that, carrying an ax. The monster led really well and was really dancing. Rabbit wanted to cut off the monster’s big toe. The rabbit knew that if someone cut off the monster’s big toe it would kill gOjEthl@. So shaCHwanE tried that. The first time the rabbit threw the ax, it missed. It didn’t kill him. gOjEthl@ was really dancing good and didn’t notice it though. Then, shaCHwanE threw the ax and tried again but missed again. shaCHwanE didn’t cut off wAdAPakO@ (the big toe). gOjEthl@ saw the ax and started to get. “You almost cut off my big toe!” Because of that gOjEthl@ started to get mad. Then they danced again. The last time the rabbit through the ax, it cut off the monster’s big toe. hAnjU! The monster just jumped around and was just yelling. The creatures were scared and ran into the woods and all wanted to hide. The rabbit ran off scared. After a while, no one could hear the monster anymore. Then the rabbit came there. shaCHwanE saw that gOjEthl@ was dead. Rabbit cut off gOjEthl@’s head and took it back to where the creatures lived. shaCHwanE showed it to them. Then rabbit was happy. All of them were happy. They danced again. They made a big celebration. It was good that way.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Congratulations to Mike Williams, Sr. and his son on finishing the 2013 Iditarod race! Mike Williams, Chief of the Yupiit Nation, fluent speaker of Yup'ik and accomplished dog musher will be profiled in Lost Words and will reveal the relationship of the Yup'ik language to his culture and dog mushing.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Benjamin Schleifman, Tlingit, is an Alaska Native artist, sculptor and traditional dancer who will be appearing in Lost Words and will highlight the connection between the Tlingit language, culture and art:
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Today we filmed Barbara Jean Franks who is Tlingit, a mother, and a lecturer on Alaska Native suicide prevention. Barbara had some insightful stories to share about suicide prevention, grief counseling and the connection between language and identity. She is a positive force in this world who helps thousands of people each year to address the issues revolving around Alaska Native suicide—which occurs at a rate of three times the national average.