Two New York tribes working to keep their languages goingTuesday, April 6, 2010Filed Under: Education The Shinnecock Nation and the Unkechaug Nation of New York are working to revitalize their languages.
The tribes speak closely-related Algonquin languages. But the last fluent speakers died so they are working with Stony Brook University and a software developer to develop programs to teach a new generation.
“Our language isn’t dead. As long as you know one word in your language it isn’t dead,” Josephine Smith, the cultural enrichment and language program coordinator. for the Shinnecock Nation, told The New York Times. “This is about revitalization and maintaining the language.”
The last fluent speaker of Shinnecock died in 1925. Unkechaug hasn't been used regularly for at least one hundred years although former president Thomas Jefferson created a word list when he visited the tribe in the late 1700s.