– There are less than 20 Native American languages spoken in the United States, that are projected to survive another 100 years. The Chickasaw language, or Chikashshanompa’, is just one of many tribal languages that culture keepers are working to preserve.
In 1994, the estimated number of fluent Chikashshanompa’ speakers was less than 1,000, and today, the Chickasaw language has less than 75 fluent speakers, with the vast majority older than age 55. It is because of these declining numbers that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) categorizes it as “severely endangered.”
Emily Johnson Dickerson, a full-blood Chickasaw who spoke only the Chickasaw language her entire life, died at her Ada, Oklahoma, home on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, at the age of 93. The Chickasaw elder was one of the few remaining fluent speakers of the Chickasaw language and the last monolingual Chickasaw language speaker, according to Joshua Hinson, director of the Chickasaw Nation Language Department.
Though its roots are ancient, the Chickasaw language is still alive today. The Chickasaw.tv Language channel serves as a resource to learn Chickasaw words and phrases through easy instructional videos, discover the multitude of educational opportunities the Chickasaw Nation offers, and meet the Chickasaw elders and linguists who are keeping the Nation’s spoken word alive.
INFORMATIVE VIDEOS ON THE CHICKASAW LANGUAGE:
The Origin of the Chickasaw Language
Survival of the Chickasaw Language
EXAMPLE OF LANGUAGE LESSONS ON CHICKASAW.TV:
Lesson 7: Greetings
LANGUAGE PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES:
Chickasaw Language Resources
Master-Apprentice: Hannah Corsello and Rick Greenwood
‘Children Speaking Chickasaw’ Club