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                                                              Native Child

 

Culturally sensitive preschool curriculum with a focus on Native American tribes

 

 

Karuk Language Renewal Programs

 

In California, where 50 indigenous languages are spoken, a very different approach to Native language learning is being implemented with a high success rate. Numerous indigenous communities have started "master-apprentice" programs in which Native speaking elders interact with young apprentices over a period of months and years, as they participate in daily activities, and events. A good example are the Karuks in northwestern California. Karuk have a tribal enrollment of over 2,300, but only ten to twelve are fluent speakers.  The California Gold Rush changed the Karuk culture forever and they lost their way of life, homeland and rapidly experienced intensive language loss.

The Karuk language programs have two master-apprentice teams which are involved in language immersion camps, public school activities, adult language course and in addition, they have developed Karuk literacy materials. Teams get together at least once a week and focus on language learning. One master-apprentice teams is located within walking distance of each other and they meet up on a regular basis. On this team which consists of a great aunt and nephew, the family benefits from the language contact, the elder speaker provides on a constant basis. Immersion camps also involve community members in language learning (taking place around meals, playing, singing, dancing, storytelling and crafts). Elders attempt to use these situations to teach as much Karuk as possible. In addition, one local public school has become involved in the tribe's language revitalization efforts by including non-Indian teachers as well as Indian students, and they learn Karuk together. As a result of joint co-operation, Native language instructors have learned effective new teaching methods and children have developed a sense of pride in their traditional language.

If you know of similar language programs in your area, please drop up a note and we will be happy to write about it.


 




 

 

 

 


   
 

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If you don't know the language, you'll only see the surface of the
culture...the language is the heart of the culture and you cannot separate it.
 
Elaine Ramos
TLINGIT

 

 

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