Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program Accepting Applications

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and 2017 Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program graduates Ronnie Duncan, Lisa O’Field, Larry Carney and Tony Owens. Photo courtesy of Will Chavez/Cherokee Phoenix

Published July 6, 2018

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program is now accepting applications. The two-year language program is centered on a group language immersion experience and only accepts a limited number of applications each year.

“Our language is a part of what makes us who we are as Cherokees, and this program is the foundation of how we will continue to preserve and promote our language,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “This program gives individuals the opportunity to be immersed in our language and our culture, and through the hard work of the men and women in that department, we are making strides each and every day toward language preservation.”

After completing the program, students will have 4,000 contact hours with the Cherokee language and spend more than 40 hours each week studying and speaking the language.

“Our program is about more than teaching someone the Cherokee language, it is about naturally absorbing our language and our way of life to the point that it changes the way we see the world and think. The real goal is to activate people that will spread the language wherever they go,” said Howard Paden, program director. “Our learners say it is a challenging program, but every day they push to give them more language. When they graduate, their passion for speaking the Cherokee language is only rivaled by their commitment to share our language.”

In 2014, the tribe began the program as a part of the Cherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach department as a way to promote the Cherokee language. Since its inception, the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program has grown into its own department and has graduated six Cherokee speakers.

To apply for the program you must be 18 years or older, be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., live near Tahlequah or be willing to relocate, and possess a strong desire to learn and cultivate the Cherokee language and culture through teaching.

The deadline for applications is October 1, 2018.

For more information or to apply, call the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program office at 918-207-4964.

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