Thanksgiving tribe reclaims language lost to colonization

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Thanksgiving tribe reclaims language lost to colonization

Steven Senne/Associated Press file

Massachusetts Institute of Technology archivist Nora Murphy places a second edition of the Eliot Indian Bible on a table at the MIT rare book collection, in Cambridge, Mass. The second edition of the Eliot Indian Bible, translated into Wampanoag, is dated 1685. Experts have relied on extensive written records in Wampanoag to reclaim the language, including 17th century phonetic translations of the King James Bible.
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Toodie Coombs, of East Falmouth, Mass., right, distributes prayer pamphlets written in Wampanoag and English before the “We Gather Together” celebration at the Old Indian Meeting House, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is in its second year of operating a preschool immersion program in which only an indigenous language that had not been spoken for generations is uttered. The tribe also has launched language classes for high school students, tribal elders and tribal families.
Wampanoag language students Trish Keliinui, of Mashpee, Mass., left; Toodie Coombs, of East Falmouth, Mass. center; and Kitty Hendricks-Miller, of Mashpee, Mass., right, laugh during a class at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag are one of the few tribes to have brought back their language despite not having any surviving adult speakers, says Teresa McCarty, a cultural anthropologist and applied linguist at the University of California Los Angeles.
A child in a combined pre-kindergarten and kindergarten Wampanoag language immersion class removes kernels from an ear of corn at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts is in its second year of operating a preschool immersion program where only an indigenous language that had not been spoken for generations is uttered.
Toodie Coombs, of East Falmouth, Mass., left, points toward household objects lying on a table with other Wampanoag language students as they identify the objects using the language during a class at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag are one of the few tribes to have brought back their language despite not having any surviving adult speakers, says Teresa McCarty, a cultural anthropologist and applied linguist at the University of California Los Angeles.
Children in a combined pre-kindergarten and kindergarten Wampanoag language immersion class work on their lessons at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. A dozen or so adults and dozens of youngsters have gained at least some proficiency in their ancestors’ tongue, which vanished as more colonists arrived and displaced the native people from their homelands in what’s now Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Thanksgiving tribe reclaims language lost to colonization

Steven Senne/Associated Press file

Massachusetts Institute of Technology archivist Nora Murphy places a second edition of the Eliot Indian Bible on a table at the MIT rare book collection, in Cambridge, Mass. The second edition of the Eliot Indian Bible, translated into Wampanoag, is dated 1685. Experts have relied on extensive written records in Wampanoag to reclaim the language, including 17th century phonetic translations of the King James Bible.
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Toodie Coombs, of East Falmouth, Mass., right, distributes prayer pamphlets written in Wampanoag and English before the “We Gather Together” celebration at the Old Indian Meeting House, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is in its second year of operating a preschool immersion program in which only an indigenous language that had not been spoken for generations is uttered. The tribe also has launched language classes for high school students, tribal elders and tribal families.
Wampanoag language students Trish Keliinui, of Mashpee, Mass., left; Toodie Coombs, of East Falmouth, Mass. center; and Kitty Hendricks-Miller, of Mashpee, Mass., right, laugh during a class at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag are one of the few tribes to have brought back their language despite not having any surviving adult speakers, says Teresa McCarty, a cultural anthropologist and applied linguist at the University of California Los Angeles.
A child in a combined pre-kindergarten and kindergarten Wampanoag language immersion class removes kernels from an ear of corn at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts is in its second year of operating a preschool immersion program where only an indigenous language that had not been spoken for generations is uttered.
Toodie Coombs, of East Falmouth, Mass., left, points toward household objects lying on a table with other Wampanoag language students as they identify the objects using the language during a class at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. The Mashpee Wampanoag are one of the few tribes to have brought back their language despite not having any surviving adult speakers, says Teresa McCarty, a cultural anthropologist and applied linguist at the University of California Los Angeles.
Children in a combined pre-kindergarten and kindergarten Wampanoag language immersion class work on their lessons at the Wampanoag Tribe Community and Government Center, in Mashpee, Mass. A dozen or so adults and dozens of youngsters have gained at least some proficiency in their ancestors’ tongue, which vanished as more colonists arrived and displaced the native people from their homelands in what’s now Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
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