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The pandemic is a serious threat to people of all Native nations. But it posed an added danger when Yuchi elder Maxine Wildcat Barnett got sick with COVID-19. She is the last fluent speaker of the Yuchi language. Fortunately she recovered. But it puts into perspective the importance of Native language revitalization programs. Some language instruction turned to online classes and social media to keep up momentum during the pandemic. The Cherokee Nation is among those that prioritized fluent language speakers for the vaccine. We’ll check in with Native language program organizers about how they refuse to let the global pandemic slow the progress of language revitalization.
Dr. Michael Sullivan (Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians) – school linguist at the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School
Dr. Richard Grounds (Yuchi/Seminole) – executive director of the Yuchi Language Project
Break 1 music: Earth Song (song) Elizabeth Hill (artist) Peacemakers Lullaby (album)
Break 2 music: Natural Anthem (song) Jesse Ed Davis (artist) Keep Me Comin’ (album)