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Cherokee

Classification: [ISO 639-3: chr]

The Cherokee are one of the largest groups of American Indians in the United States. According to the 2000 USA Census there are 390,902 ethnic Cherokee. The Ethnologue states that are approximately 22,500 speakers, including approximately 14,000 speakers on the Oklahoma rolls as well as 8,500 in North Carolina. There are three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, two of which are located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma: United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is located in the Qualla Boundary, North Carolina. The Cherokees are particularly well known for their syllabary, a native writing system that resulted in widespread literacy as well as the creation of the first Indian newspaper in the United States, *The Cherokee Phoenix*. In 2002 a Cherokee Nation survey revealed that no one under 40 spoke the language fluently and that less than 11 percent of Cherokee Nation citizens within the 14-county Cherokee Nation jurisdictional region used the language at home. In the last few decades all three tribes have shown a growing interest in the revitalization of Cherokee culture and language.

Language Consultants: Harry Oosahwee was born in 1949 in Tahlequah, OK, and raised in Moneybean Hollow, east of Hulbert, Oklahoma. His first language is Cherokee. Mr. Oosahwee is a Cherokee instructor at Northeastern State University and is the student coordinator for the Cherokee Education Degree program. In 2008 he received his Master’s degree; his thesis was ‘Language Immersion: An effective initiative for teaching the Cherokee language.’

Other Consultant TBA

Instructor: Brad Montgomery-Anderson, Ph.D. is a linguist in the Department of Languages and Literature at Northeastern State University (NSU) in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He specializes in language revitalization and Native American languages. His courses in Cherokee grammar, language revitalization, and heritage language acquisition are taught through NSU’s Cherokee Language Program, the only program in the continental United States offering a BA in an American Indian language. Dr. Montgomery-Anderson is currently working on an online dictionary of Cherokee as well as a Cherokee reference grammar (to be published in 2012 through University of Oklahoma Press). He is also preparing a grammar and dictionary of the Chontal Mayan language of Mexico.


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