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Cherokee Language initiative is a Big Fat Lie

“Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation keeps the language alive for future generations” was a headline that made national news. In a world of fake news, this story really stinks. The truth is that under the Hoskin/Baker administration funding for Cherokee language education has been cut dramatically. The NSU program designed to help train teachers is gone, and the only thing in its place is a mentor program for a limited “select” number of participants that has yet to produce teachers, trainers or scholars.

The Cherokee Nation continues to promote the “inaugural” class of the immersion school like the language program has been some great success in producing fluent speakers. The truth of the matter is that Cherokee language at Sequoyah stops in the sixth grade. This “inaugural” class has not had formal training in the Cherokee language since they were 11 or 12 years old. There was ZERO Cherokee language taught in the 7th, and 8th grade at Sequoyah Middle school and the only Cherokee these ladies had access to in high school was basic Cherokee offered to non-speakers.

This educational plan is NOT what was envisioned for the immersion school. Students were to be educated in Cherokee from kindergarten to sixth grade and English/Cherokee from 7th grade until high school graduation. In reality, all advance Cherokee language learning stopped with Baker and Hoskin.

Hoskin and Baker are perpetuating a lie. This is fake news at its worst as it creates a misconception that Baker or Hoskin (both non-speakers) care about our language or have done anything to help it thrive. In truth, they have taken ANA funds (federal funds) to form another “committee” instead of investing in what the next generation needs – textbooks, advanced language curriculum, and state certified teachers. This language board, while made up of highly qualified individuals, is a step backward. We should be well past this stage by now, and these individuals are much more valuable in the classroom or overseeing educational curriculum.

This kind of fake news about how Baker and Hoskin are keeping the language alive is not only detrimental to our language but to our culture and to our sovereignty. #Yoneg

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