Students Unite to Restore Native Languages

Learning your Native language can be scary, confusing, and seem hard to do. It is a problem that many students at Haskell Indian Nations University face. There is now a club that provides a comforting and fun environment to learn and speak with others. It is community based intertribal language learning. It’s called the Indigenous Language Revitalization Club and they meet every Tuesday at 6:30 in the HINU library, near the language section. 

The group has just begun, and there have only been a few meetings, but many ideas are in the process of unfolding. At the last meeting, everyone set learning goals. If someone had questions about how to begin learning their Native language, another would try to provide a helpful answer. The group intends to help those who desire to learn their language to identify resources and opportunities to speak. It is also meant to help current speakers find one another, in order to communicate and network. 

Rissa Garcia, the student who started the club, emphasizes that self-motivation and daily use of the language is vital for achieving results.

Haskell is a diverse Indigenous university. There are numerous tribes and languages represented. Jared Nally, HINU Student, says that the group, “Aims to bridge the gap between the many languages and dialects at HINU.” Nally describes why he desires to learn his myaamiataweenki language, “Language shapes how you interact with the world.” 

Hayley Wells, HINU student, explains why she is interested in learning, “I want to learn Choctaw, partially out of a sense of responsibility. I feel honored to be Native, so I feel it should be my honor to preserve as much culture and heritage as I can.” 

The club seeks to emphasize the presence of Native languages at HINU with activities like open mic. night, storytelling, board games, and more. Indigenous Language Revitalization Club is a good interactive and comfortable environment to start learning how to speak your Native language on HINU’s campus.

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