Just in case you are wondering (or not) I’m trying to create a dialogue about language via these installments in the Nation Newsletter. The topics will probably be ‘all over the place’ but still important and relevant to share and talk about. I am not an expert by any means, but I do know for sure that community awareness, involvement, and input are vital to the sustainability of the language effort.
In our last installment it was mentioned that past and present Elder speakers learned the language at home. In many cases, it was the only language spoken while they were growing up. ‘In the home’ seems to be the constant; the preferred way of learning according to those who do speak our language.
The vision statement in the Nation’s Seneca Language Strategic plan is explicit, “To restore the Seneca language to the point it is the first language acquired and is learned in the home.”
Currently, a growing number of young parents, I would estimate ages 25 to 45, are speaking the language with their children in their homes! That is worth repeating, a growing number of young parents are speaking the language with their children in their homes! Learning the language in the home is becoming a reality once again.
This particular age group is successfully accomplishing what our Elder speakers have said and advised for a very long time. I hesitate to try and name them all, I do not want to omit anyone by mistake. It includes Seneca language personnel, past and present, and individuals and families who are doing it on their own. To all of them, we are indebted and offer our congratulations, thanks, and appreciation.
This remarkable achievement and language learning success needs be shared with the community. I going to assume that a large majority of our community is unaware.
There are a lot of talented people doing great things with regard to the bringing back of our language. Years of due diligence are beginning to pay off. The number of those involved in this resurgence is relatively small but growing, and progress is slow and time consuming, sometimes to the point of going unnoticed. But, please know that progress is being made.
My only wish is this information provides hope, creates excitement, and motivates others to support and encourage those who are learning to continue.
Also, please be advised that the next Board of Director meeting for Agwadeyësta’ Do:gë:h is scheduled for 2/21/21 at 10 am at the FKS Annex. Our meetings are open to the public and we extend an invitation to all community members to attend if at all possible.
Nya:wëh for your time and consideration.