We all agree that it is important to speak our Indigenous languages. Learning a language is hard work and it’s even harder to for an entire community to start speaking again. Some feel that it is critically important to continue a language with only a few speakers left. But not everyone is able to spend the time learning their Indigenous language. This can lead to a range of emotions, including guilt. Is feeling guilty for not speaking your language a good thing? Can it motivate you to get moving? Or does it create an overwhelming feeling of fatalism? Learning a language is much more than just memorizing the words or even speaking with someone in conversation. How can communities and individuals prepare for the emotions associated with reviving their language?
Gerald Hill (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin) – president of the board of directors for the Indigenous Language Institute
Joshua Hinson (Chickasaw) – director of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program