In a world of increasing diversity, it’s no longer rare to find children with several ethnic backgrounds or upbringing. Research has repeatedly shown that children who have grown up in an environment where they’ve been exposed to several different languages have a unique pathway ahead of them when it comes to educational and social development.
The Cherokee Immersion school in Tahlequah is one example. The inaugural graduating class shows that 100% of the students are going on to college and one is even headed to the Ivy Leagues.
While the immersion school is graduating several speakers a year, we have a massive gap between our Cherokee language speakers. Two decades in fact. Indian boarding schools aggressively discouraged our parents and grandparents from speaking our Native language, and as a people, we are dispersed across the United States and rapidly across the world. Learning our native language helps connect us to our ancestors and culture in a way that many other things don’t. It serves as a continuous reminder of who we are and where we came from.
Over the course of several years participants from multiple organizations have volunteered time, talent and treasure to create a Cherokee learning platform.
Better yet, the program is FREE.
Everyone involved in the project believes that the Cherokee language is something all Cherokees regardless of geographic location, age or economic situation, are entitled. Today we have an interactive platform, including voice recognition, that covers elementary Cherokee (80 hours).
We are only $2000 short of making the platform live in September!
Our goal is to add intermediate Cherokee over the course of the next year and add advanced Cherokee over the course of three years (160 hours).
Please join us and help make the Cherokee language available to All Cherokees.
Kimberlie Gilliland is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She has worked as an advocate of Cherokee Language revitalization for over 12 years. Ms. Gilliland was the project leader on the Cherokee language electronic dictionary and is one of the project managers of the Cherokee Language Learning platform. In addition, she was the project lead on the Cherokee Nation Lullaby CD as well as the Cherokee Language audio books. She won a Telly award for her work on Cherokee Stories. Both her children are graduates of the Cherokee Language Immersion school.