Cherokee Language Board Will Play Vital Role in Revitalization Efforts

Cherokee Nation Language program manager writes “Hello everyone!” using the Cherokee keyboard on a Nexus 6 device.

Guest Commentary

Published February 4, 2019

Part of my sworn oath as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation is to preserve, promote and advance the language and culture of the Cherokee Nation. We’ve seen some wonderful examples of that recently, including concentrated revitalization efforts for the Cherokee language. This week, we took another important step by creating a new Cherokee Language Advisory Board

Chief Bill John Baker

Cherokee language experts and speakers Durbin Feeling, Rosa Carter and Wyman Kirk will make up the inaugural board, and as this effort’s first members, they are charged with ensuring all of Cherokee Nation’s language programs and all the efforts to educate our citizens in our communities have a united vision, implementation method and mission. This coordination will enable all our language programs to synchronize, giving us better management, tracking and verification abilities.

Today, Cherokee Nation operates several language programs, including the Cherokee Translation Department, Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program, Cherokee Language Technology Program and the Cherokee Immersion School. The widespread success and recognition of these respected programs are a testament to the efforts and investments we have made into language programs.

The formation of the Cherokee Language Advisory Board is part of the tribe’s Native Language Community Coordination ANA Grant, received in 2016.

In addition to the creation of the advisory board, we will also develop a coordinated, standardized Cherokee language curriculum that will be available for each level of language learning. We also plan to establish a Cherokee Nation Cherokee Language Teacher Certification to solidify the standards of proficiency for those teaching Cherokee.

Through the execution of these new initiatives, prompted by the national grant, we can keep striving for our cultural preservation goal: Within 20 years, Cherokee communities are living, speaking and thinking in Cherokee and the Cherokee language is the first language of the Cherokee Nation.

Bill John Baker is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

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