Native Village
Youth and Education news
November 1, 2010, Volume 1

Smithsonian Reaches Out to Indigenous Groups with Language Effort
Condensed by Native Village
*Bruce Cole, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has called language “the DNA of a culture.”
Of the more than 300 indigenous languages spoken in the U.S., only 175 remain. Without restoration efforts, no more than 20 will still be spoken in 2050.

"Recovering Voices: Partnerships on Endangered Languages and Knowledge Systems," is a new Smithsonian program to document endangered native languages. The project is a joint effort among Indigenous communities, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Center for Folk Life and Cultural Heritage, and the National Museum of Natural History.

Recovering Voices will document and archive indigenous languages to keep them from dying. It will also preserve indigenous knowledge and raise awareness for the need to protect them.

Around 6,000 languages are spoken across the world.
96% of these languages are spoken by only 4% of the population.
A language is "endangered" when it is not currently spoken by children.
On average.
1 language disappears every 2 weeks.
By the end of this century, more than
50% will disappear

The National Anthropological Archives is also working on 9,000 + linear feet of manuscripts in their collections. These include 1,000,000 pages of grammars, vocabularies, narratives, and other writings.

Native communities are working with Smithsonian and providing access to language speakers, archives, and resources.

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Above: John F. Kennedy, President of the United States and Stephen "Talkhouse" Pharaoh, Montauk

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