I had a nice little Monday morning surprise today: someone sent me a link to a (relatively) new project called Our Mother Tongues. It’s a program developed through Cultural Survival, which is a wonderful organization dedicated to maintaining cultural diversity and advocating for indigenous peoples around the world. Our Mother Tongues is a program specifically dedicated to the maintenance and revitalization of Native American languages, and not only is it a great cause, their website is really fabulous! Eye-catching, interactive, thought-provoking…really inspirational.
In the section called “Voices“, you can hear people of all different generations speaking in their native languages by hovering your mouse over the photo of the speaker:
There’s also an interactive map of Native American language programs throughout the US, a blog about indigenous language issues, and video clips taken from a documentary featuring native speakers (and Noam Chomsky!) discussing how important it is to maintain their mother tongues.
And then there is my very favorite feature: Native language e-postcards! (!!) Each postcard features a short greeting spoken by a native speaker.
I love this one from Euchee: “Together we can do great things!”
I grew up in Oklahoma, the home of both Euchee and Sauk, but I didn’t know anything about endangered languages until I’d already moved far away. I feel so lucky that I can still hear some of the languages spoken in my family’s backyard, even from such a physical, and cultural, distance.
(P.S. If anyone wants to send me one of these e-postcard, that would absolutely make my day!)