Beyond THE FUTURE: “Oneida Indian Nation Works to Recover its Language”
To hear people speak a language that’s not only foreign but is also rarely heard is an educational experience in itself. As I listened to the story I tried to make sense out of the sounds taught to represent “man” and “woman” in a beginners’ class for
Luckily some tribes have survived and, like the Oneida Nation, are flourishing. I know the piece of country these people call home, and I’m so happy to hear they’re doing well. To resurrect a native language must make one feel as though she’s resurrecting a lost piece of her being; to build and maintain such a bridge with an ancient heritage must contribute to the well-being of every person involved. I have a feeling if and when that one student becomes a parent, she’ll speak to her children in
One thing I always love about going home is hearing the sounds of my family’s voices. My brothers sound like each other and my dad; my sisters sound like each other and my mom. Not exactly alike, of course, but it’s the inflections and the facial expressions, the familial sense of humor and the years of knowing each other that contribute so much to holiday conversations. So I’ll call today and hear some of those voices, and I’ll be happy to hear them across long-distance telephone lines. Then I’ll start counting down to the next time I’ll get on a plane to make the cross-country trek that will once again bring me to a place I cherish, where loved ones’ voices remind me of who I am, and where I’ve always belonged.
Stunning acrylic on canvas artwork “Celebration of the Three Sisters” by Dave Hill of the Oneida Nation © 2001. The Three Sisters in some Native American cultures refer to corn, beans, and squash.