Council funds ID survey of fluent Cherokee speakers
TAHLEQUAH – According to a Cherokee Nation press release, the Tribal Council passed a budget modification on Nov. 13 to fund a survey that will identify the number of fluent Cherokee speakers living in the CN.
With nearly 2,000 fluent speakers already identified, the tribe’s Community & Cultural Outreach department will use the $50,467 to host local community events in hopes of identifying more fluent speakers, the release states.
Once complete, the tribe will be able to use the data to apply for more grant funding for language programs, according to the release.
“The Cherokee language is an integral part of our identity as Cherokee people,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Through the work of our CCO staff, we are able to identify and honor our first-language speakers, while at the same time using the data from the survey to apply for new grants that will allow us to continue our language revitalization efforts.”
As part of the survey, the CN will award medallions to the identified fluent Cherokee speakers, the release states.
Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd, a fluent Cherokee speaker, said the survey is another positive step in growing the Cherokee language. “Currently, our study shows that most of our fluent speakers are older than 60 years of age, making it more important than ever before that we identify the first-language speakers so they can share their knowledge with our younger generations. I commend the work of our Community & Cultural Outreach department and look forward to what this survey will yield in our language revitalization efforts.”
In October, the CN hosted the first Cherokee Language Speaking Employee Appreciation Day to kick off the identification survey of fluent Cherokee speakers, the release states. It also states that more than 150 fluent Cherokee-speaking employees gathered to discuss ways to continue growing the language as well as receive appreciation from tribal leaders and learn about the tribe’s language programs.
For more information regarding the survey of Cherokee speakers, call the CCO department at 918-207-4995.