Native American

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Inwewinan -- is the general Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) word for language, word root is "characteristic sounds". This page contains AmerIndian language resources.

Native Language Act of 1992, 42 USC 2291(b) -- basic legislation providing for funding to preserve Indian languages.

Places that Teach Indian Languages -- this will link-to pages maintained by the University of Minnesota's Less Frequently Taught Language Project. For each Native language there is info listing colleges and universities, levels offered, contact people.

Ojibwe -- Anishinaabemowin

English - Anishnaabemowin and Anishinaabemowin - English Dictionary lookup word translation. Not too many words in there yet. Try 'HELLO'. Fond du Lac Ojibwe Tribal College project.

Oshkabewis Native Journal -- emphasis is on Ojibwe language and culture. Tables of contents and subscription info for 2 issues only, no actual content.

Woodland Cultural Centre Language Statistics -- Iroquoian and Anishinaabeg. Tables, graphs -- and some recommended language learning materials

Prairie Band Potawotomie Language Project -- With support of a grant from Iowa Humanities Commission, University and Reservation-based group is attempting to construct a lexicon, a grammar, and other tools to keep this Algonquian language alive. It is to be hoped they may coordinate on issues like spelling with other Algonquian language groups. They tell the story of their efforts, valuable sketch of methods and procedures can be helpful for others in devising their own language preservation programs.

  • Potawatamie Files Stanford linguist posts English-Potawotamie and vice-versa dictionaries and text-form dictionary database file. Story recorded in Potawatamie.

6 Nations (Iroquois)

EGADS, Seneca Language translator startpage with explanations. (Dictionary lookup engine has been down since April, supposed to be back up with new programming later this summer.)

  • Seneca Stories with translations -- created by Tom McEwan from Finland. These are very short, suitable for children or teachers. Each sentence has a clickable explanation of the Seneca grammar. A model of how this can be done.

Oneida Indian Language Project -- Interesting pictorial and sound vocabulary of a few important animals. On amazing Oneida Nation server.

Mohawk language page -- Just getting started.

Cheyenne Language Page with many language learning resources and Cheyenne-related links, by Wayne Leman

Hawai'ian Language -- interesting presentation that interweaves culture, legends, history, places with vocabulary and pronunciation

Lushootseed (Upper Salish) -- Language facts, how it is being recovered, Vi Herbert's efforts

Mayan Languages

Yucatec Mayan, pronunciation guide, everyday phrases

  • Maya language
    --My table (above) gives contemporary pronunciation and vocabulary, this Canadian Museum of Civilization page explains the glyphics of archaeologists working with the ancient languages.

Number Glyphs and words for base-20 numbers 1-20

  • Maya numbers--My table (above) gives their names and glyphs; this Canadian Museum of Civilization page explains a bit more about the base-20 Mayan number system.

Universal survey of Languages Project hopes to have summaries and samples of many indigenous languages. Only a few Native ones in there so far.

Navajo language page of Navajo (tribal) Community College; has many resources.

Native American Languages Center of American Indian Studies Program, University of California, Davis

Lakota language page By Father Bucko as part of his Lakota pages

Dakota Language Lessons innovative teaching method with on-line interactive lessons from Sisseton-Wahpeton tribal developers. For on-line interactive sound, you'll need to download (they provide a link) the Vivo-Active Player plug-in.

Cree Language Home Page -- prepared by a grad student. Has some stories in Cree. No additions or changes in nearly a year.

  • Cree Fonts downloadable from Yamada language center

  • NIPEHTEN NIPEHTAWAW -- Cree - English readerfor children. - One of a group of Cree language publications for various ages, offered by the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center. Ordering info and access to a complete catalog of SCC publications from this page.

  • A catalog of Native language readers for elementary students with facing pages in Cree, Dene, and Salteaux Ojibway, produced by Lone Wolf Multimedia (Canada) for Reserve and other Native schools

The Yamada Language Guides with locally available information on several Native languages, and several special fonts available


Cherokee syllabary fonts for PC's, Macs, OS/2. Explanation, history and intresting story of how electrical engineering student came to make these fonts. BIG table file displaying all syllables with pronunciation guide, mapped onto the fonts for keyboard use. Keyboard keys to evoke syllables. Excellent Cherokee language printing resource.

Cherokee Syllabary -- just a few of the syllable-symbols, with clickable sound pronounced for each; don't know why they never finished it. Try it out, get the longer one (above) which doesn't have soundfiles, but has everything you need to know to computer-write with the syllabary.

Cherokee Moons words for each month, with pronunciation guide, from Cherokee Messenger

Cherokee Language tapes -- includes tapes of books read aloud some in Cherokee language, some in English about Cherokees. I would like to receive an evaluation of these from (1) a serious Cherokee student and (2) A fluent speaker.

Cherokee word list produced by Cherokee Cultural Center technical worker, must be downloaded as a file, not currently legible as a html document.

Danny Ammon's Hupa Language Web Page -- Hupa tribal member is both language revival and computer whiz/math expert. His pages show some simple reconstructions, vocabularies, grammar. Perhaps later he will provide 2-language versions of stories or histories.

Statistics on Many Native Languages

Native Languages in Canada -- An Ethnologists' database (kept in England) , provides statistics of language use by tribes; mostly old stats.

Summer Institute for Linguistics -- Canadian Native languages -- Same statistics (Ethnologue) as above, but presented in a single scrollable data table. A jump-menu at the top of this page accsses a biliogrpahy of publications (mostly from SIL itself) for various Native languages.

Preserving Native Languages -- Montana Prof writes of whys and wherefores; explains a native language teacher certification program started by Montana State U.

Speaking Out Keep Native Tongues Alive -- 1994 Washington Post feature article, postd by a Linguistics prof at Princeton.

  • Language and Culture -- Feature article on why Native stories often lose all point in translation, posted by Linguistics prof.

Native Language Learning Tapes -- Generally both tapes and workbooks of some sort are included in the Audio-visual learning aids evaluated here. Scroll down the file past CDROM's and videotapes to audiotapes.

Native Word for Computer

A Narrative About A Word -- "Computer" showing how native languages -- here, Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) -- carry rich meanings in a network of language and history. Like all living languages, it is able to creat new words for new things, experiences, concepts -- but these creations are especially rich in meanings. Narrative-dialog by Paula Giese.

  • Native language speakers, teachers, computer folks -- It would be nice to create the word for all our languages. In the essay, you see why I reject the one that's been adopted in the Ojibwe dictionary (a recycling of "typewriter") and propose "Draws designs of light" . Propose (or explain by tracing meaning-connections as I did) a word for computer in your own language. If you like my proposal, translate it with such connections. Translations should be quite easy (and similar) for all the Algonquian language-group, though probably there will be different histories of word-creations. (Please read the essay first!)

  • View NATIVE WORD FOR COMPUTER proposals that tribal people have entered here.

  • YOUR NATIVE WORD FOR COMPUTER proposed definition Your own native language word for "computer" explaining the meaning connections or history.

Dictionaries, Grammars

A CONCISE DICTIONARY OF MINNESOTA OJIBWE by John D. Nichols and Earl Nyholm, a paperback dictionary at an amazing bargain price. Aided in compilation and funded in publication by Minnesota's Mille Lacs Ojibwe tribe (and their casino). See review.

PORTAGE LAKE: MEMORIES OF AN OJIBWE CHILDHOOD, by Mille Lacs elder Maude Kegg, has stories of life in the old days with facing pages in English and Ojibwe. Much of the book analyzes verb forms, a grammar supplement. See Review.

Semantic, Philosophical Language Concerns: Interesting Books

'IN VAIN I TRIED TO TELL YOU': ESSAYS IN NATIVE AMERICAN ETHNOPOETICS, Dell Hymes, University of Philadelphia Press, 1981. Hymes' essays (and collected book reviews) attempt to show why essentially any English translation will fail to capture meanings -- and of course the poetry itself -- of Native poetry. Hymes tends to focus more on loss of cultural context than on language.

NATIVE AMERICAN MATHEMATICS, edited by Michael P. Closs. Mostly on systems of numeration within several native languages, a couple of articles on gemoetric concepts derived from architectural analysis. Focus is primarily linguistic. See review.

LANGUAGE, THOUGHT AND REALITY: SELECTED WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN LEE WHORF, ed. John B. Carroll, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 1956. How does the way a people talks affect how they think? Language is our prime (though not only) medium of thought -- the way the world is conceptualized. Converseley, how does a people's lifestyle affect the form, structure, and content of their language? Linguist Whorf was one of the first to raise these important questions within the discipline of linguistics (book is a reprint of work done mostly in the 1920's).

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Page prepared by Paula Giese graphics and layout copyright 1995, 1996.1997 Eagle photo modified from native animals in nature furnished for download by Mi'kmaq Mike Sack. from his interesting homepage, animated by me.

Last updated: 5/27/97