Six Nations sends language delegation to Hawai

The Six Nations Language Commission (SNLC) is sending a delegation of 16 people, mostly Instructors and Program staff, to Hawaii University in Hilo, Hawaii for the 21st (biannual) Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium from January 15-19th.

Karen Sandy, the coordinator for the SNLC, explained that over 200 delegates from various Indigenous tribes around the world will be in attendance. The delegation will be presenting on behalf of the Six Nations language program.

Sandy stated that they will be talking about the successes and challenges of the language program on Six Nations. The biggest issue right now is that Six Nations has six languages but due to availability and money, only three are being taught: Onondaga, Cayuga and Mohawk.

There are currently no fluent Oneida, Seneca or Tuscarora speakers on the Six Nations territory. According to Sandy, the Tuscarora language itself only has 2 fluent speakers left worldwide.

Sandy stated the Language Program’s mission statement is to revitalize all languages on our territory. As the group’s website states, there is good reason to go to Hawaii: “Hawaii State… has one of the highest concentrations of young Native American language speakers anywhere. Yet, fifty years ago no children spoke Hawaiian in Hilo. The change is the result of aligning school programming with an official language status.”

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