Revitalization Opportunities Abound for the Cherokee Language

The Cherokee Nation Foundation is helping preserve the Cherokee Native American language in a number of ways.

In an effort to further preserve the Cherokee language, the Cherokee Nation Foundation has created a reading center featuring audio books, purchased digital textbooks and will publish an ethnobotany book—all in Cherokee.

Cherokee elder Wynema Smith wrote and can be heard narrating the first books being used for the audio book program at the reading center. The foundation partnered with Cherokee Media Ltd. to produce the first books, which were donated by Cherokee sisters America and Samonia Meredith of Noksi Press.

“Our language is such a significant part of who we are,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker in a release. “We are so thankful for the important work the foundation does, and for the talented people volunteering countless hours to make a difference in the living history of the Cherokee Nation.”

The digital textbooks were purchased for the Cherokee Language Immersion School, and will be used with existing technology like the iPads that were added to the classrooms as part of the Sequoyah’s Technology Education Program

“Our mission is to provide higher educational assistance to the Cherokee people and to help revitalized the Cherokee language,” said Kimberlie Gilliland, executive director of the Cherokee Nation Foundation, in the release. “To succeed, we have to make sure the language lives in every medium and is available to the people who will be responsible for keeping it alive, our Cherokee youth.”

A partnership between the foundation and the Cherokee Nation Natural Resources department will result in an ethnobotany book. The book will look at Cherokee culture and the use of plants throughout history. The book will be published in both Cherokee and English and become part of the curriculum at the Cherokee Language Immersion School.