Kansas Head Start teaches Cherokee language
Kansas Head Start student Ethan Fanning, left, points at the days of the week as the teachers and other students sing them in Cherokee in Kansas, Okla. TESINA JACKSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
KANSAS, Okla. – Since 2006, teachers at the Kansas Head Start have been teaching their students a language other than English. They’ve been teaching Cherokee.
“We have to incorporate another language and since the majority of our students are Native American and Cherokee, we decided that that would be the most appropriate to teach,” teacher Nicole Everhart said.
As of April 26, Kansas Head Start had 17 students enrolled, with 15 of them being Cherokee.
Cherokee Nation citizen Helen Ketcher, who has worked with Head Start programs for approximately 20 years, works at the Kansas Head Start and helps teach the Cherokee language.
“This is my heritage and I like to keep it going for some of the kids,” she said. “I know some of the kids probably don’t get to hear that at home anymore, so I just try to get that in there for them.”
The teachers instruct students on how to say simple things in Cherokee such as greetings, days of the week, food, walk, stop and more.
Ketcher said the children like to repeat what they learned in Cherokee throughout the day.
The teachers have also created a song for the days of the week in Cherokee so it’s easier for the children to learn.
“I’m learning right along with them and it’s kind of fun. It’s neat because they learn it faster than I do,” special needs aid Mishelle Young said. “They say that if you teach a child their second language by the time they’re 5 years old, then they can learn all of it and retain it their whole life whereas an adult can’t do that.
“It’s a great program and I love the fact that we incorporate something that’s original from the country instead of bringing other stuff in,” Young added.
The teachers also created signs in Cherokee that read “water,” “science” and “reading” and are located in different areas in the classroom.
Head Start has served nearly 30 million children since its inception in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson. Its goal is to help children become ready for kindergarten and provide health care and food support.
Head Start schools are federally funded and administered by the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. Head Start serves children and families each year in urban and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, including American Indian, Alaskan Native and migrant/seasonal communities.
918-453-5000, ext. 6139
ᎢᎪᏗ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎻ.– ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᏂᏓᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏓ, ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎢᎪᏗ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᎩᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏓᏁᏲᎲᏍᎪ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᏃ ᏲᏁᎦ . ᏣᎳᎩᏃ ᏓᏁᏲᎲᏍᎪ.
“ᏄᏓᎴ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏦᎦᏕᏲᏗ ᏃᎬᏁᎳ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ, ᏚᏚᎪᏔᏅ ᏓᏙᎵᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏦᎦᏕᏲᏗᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ Nicole Everhart.
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎧᏬᏅ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᏑᏓᎵᏁ, ᎢᎪᏗ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᎩᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏚᏃᏪᎳᏅ, ᏍᎩᎦᏚ ᏯᏂ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ.
ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ Helen Ketcher, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᎸᏢ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏂᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎨᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ, ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎰᏃ ᎢᎪᏗ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᏧᎾᏍᏗ ᎨᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏓᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ.
“ᎾᎿᏃ ᏂᏛᏆᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏯᏆᏛᏓ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ ᎠᏆᏅᏔ ᎢᎦᏓ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ Ꮭ ᎠᏎ ᏯᎾᏛᎩᏍᎪ ᏚᏁᏅᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎦᏁᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᎾᏛᎪᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎠᏁᏙᎲᎢ.”
ᏗᎾᏕᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᏓᏁᏲᎲᏍᎪ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎠᎯᏓ ᎢᏗᎦᏪᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᏗ ᏗᏓᏲᎵᏍᏗ, ᏓᏙᏓᏪᎬ, ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ, ᎠᏂᎩᏍᏗ, ᎭᎴᏫᏍᏓ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏛᎢ.
Ketcher ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏓ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎤᏙᏓᏈᏒᎢ.
ᏗᎾᏕᎶᎲᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᏃᏢᎾ ᎧᏃᎩᏍᏗ ᏂᏓᏙᏓᏈᏒ ᎢᏗᎦᏪᏍᏗ ᎠᎯᏗᎬ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ.
“ᎠᏯᏃ ᎤᏠᏯ ᎢᏧᎳᎭ ᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏬᏟᏗ ᎨᏐᎢ. ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏐ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎯᏗᎨ ᎠᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎪ ᏏᏅ ᎠᏯ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Young ᏧᏙᎢᏓ ᎤᏤᏟᏓ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ.
“ᎠᎾᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᏲᏟ ᏱᎨᏲᎾ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ Ꮟ ᎯᏍᎩ ᏳᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ, ᏂᎦᏓᏃ ᏯᏕᎶᏆ ᎠᎴ ᏳᏅᏔ ᎾᎿ ᏳᏛᏌ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᎬᏛᎦ ᎤᏔᎾ.
“ᎣᏍᏗᏃ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏂᎭ ᏧᎾᏕᏲᏙᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᏂᏓᎦᏓᎴᏅ ᎨᏒ ᏓᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᏃ Ꮟ ᏄᏓᎴ ᏧᎾᏕᏲᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Young.
ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᏊ ᏚᏃᏢᏅ ᏗᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏯᏛᎾ “ᎠᎹ” “ᏂᎦᎥ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ” ᎠᎴ “ᎠᎪᎵᏰᏗ” ᎠᎴ ᏂᎬ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᏚᏅᎾ.
ᎩᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎶᏌ ᏚᎾᏕᎶᏆᎠ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏦᏍᎪ ᏳᏆᏗᏅᏓ ᏯᏂ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᏓᎬᏩᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏐᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏑᏓᎵᏍᎯᏍᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Lyndon Johnson ᏣᏯᎥᎢ. ᎤᏰᎵᏛᏃ ᏗᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᏧᎾᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎯᏍᎩ ᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏳᎾᎴᏅᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯ ᏱᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎤᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬᎢ.
ᎩᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏩᏥᏂ ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏂᎬᏩᏳᏌᏕᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎴ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏚᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᏙᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏴᏫ ᏗᏂᏍᏕᎸᎯᏙ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎩᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᏍᎪ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᎴ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏂᏓᏕᏘᏴᎯᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏕᎦᏚᎲ ᎠᏁᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏣᏘᏂ ᏓᏂᏁᎸᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎯᎦᏍᎪᎯ ᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ, ᏃᎴᏍᏊ District of Columbia, Puerto Rico ᎠᎴ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ, ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎠᎹᎵᎧ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ, ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎳᏍᎦ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏂ ᎤᏂᎷᏨᎢ ᎠᎾᏓᏅᏏᏙᎯ ᏚᏂᏚᎲᎢ.