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Culture and Language

 
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alessandra7
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Posted:     Post subject: Culture and Language

I have read some of these forum posts and many seem so old. I didnt know if I should reply, if anyone would read my post because the origin post in many of these forums are at least over a year old. So I have decided to start a new one and see what happens.

I believe Culture and Language are intertwined with each other. They need each other to exist because they both are important to identity. So if a person knows their culture, but they do not and/or cannot speak their language, what kind of role does that play in that person establishing their identity?

I come from two cultures, German and Italien. I was born and spend all my life Germany. So when I meet Italien relatives, they tell me I am so German, even though I am from both cultures. And I think this is because I do not speak Italien. So I think speaking a language carries with it many things that influence the kind of person you are. If this is true, what does this mean for Natives who cannot speak their language? And what do you think of non-Natives who "can" speak a Native language?

I know that on some other Native forums, many Natives believe that only Natives should be speaking their languages. But I think when anyone learns a new language, that person also learns a glmpse into that culture's perspective, as well. So I think it is nice to learn a Native language, as long the person learning it is respectful about it and not trying to be a wannabee.

Thank you reading this :)

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brandongp605
(deleted)









Posted:     Post subject:

`Some Native communities/reservations/reserves/territories across the Americas do have many people who speak in their native tongue and it's their first or only language. These People usually live in traditional communities or families, sometimes they live in more isolated areas. In the rural areas of the Andes, the Amazon, Southern Mexico, Valley of Mexico, American Southwest, American Midwest, Northern and Western Canada; hundreds of native languages are spoken and many are fluent. I can't really speak for all native communities because there are several thousand Native Cultures and communities across the Americas, but in my area, the Lakota do have some fluent speakers, but most are just bilingual or don't speak their native tongue. Some of our Lakota Elders, educators and traditionals are working hard to keep the language alive through education. I'm not a fluent speaker, I'm more bilingual. Most of the younger Native people are not fluent in their native tongue, unfortunately. Many of the older Native population were forced into boarding schools for forced assimilation, and we also have outside influences such as media that have contributed to the decline of fluent native speakers. But there are efforts to save the languages.

I've come across White Americans who can speak Lakota and other Native languges. These non-natives who can speak a Native languages are usually married or befriended a native person or family, while some my be a linguistics expert or archaeologist wanting to learn and document the many Indigenous languages. A few years ago at my Tribe's local University, there was two German Ladies who took 'Intro to Lakota language" class just out of curiosity and interest, and they passed with ease. I personally don't have a problem with non-Natives learning any Native languages, as long as they respect the original speakers. The English and Spanish languages has thousands of Indigenous words, definitions and pronunciations that the western world borrowed and blended into their languages.

I do believe the languages is one of the keys to keeping culture and identity alive, but I believe practicing and partaking in cultural activities, festivals, spirituality, knowing one history etc. are the major keys in passing on the heritage to the next...I've also come across some old forums, I wanted to comment, but the forum was a year or several years old. Thanks for bringing up a new forum and topic.




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alessandra7
(deleted)









Posted:     Post subject:

`Ja, thank you for your response. And I know of the boarding school experience that happened in Canada and in America. I have seen several dokus on it, and also a really good film called "Where The Spirit Lives".

I saw a Cree woman on an Al Jazeera network show that was highlighting some Indigenous peoples around the world who are trying to save their languages. And this woman said something that I will always remember. She said something like, "Today there is no excuse for not learning your language. There are opportunities more today, and today there is no law against speaking your native language anymore. So if any Native person refuses to learn his language when there are opportunities around him, then he is just as guilty of killing his own language, too." I totally agree with her. I think those Natives whose tribes still have their languages, really should make that extra effort to learn to speak it.

And concerning non-Natives speaking Native languages, I think what is really important is to learn that tribal nation's perspective, too. Because I know that maybe in English it is ok to say certain things, but in a Native language, you would not say that same thing. I am aware of some non-Native linguists who have really studied the Lakota language. But a lot of their materials are just translations of how a person would speak in English. And maybe a fluent speaker, whose first language is Lakota, would not say those things because it is not from the Lakota perspectiv.

And by the way, the Lakota sounds are almost the same as the German sounds. So that makes it little bit easier for us.

I respect your words and your choice to focus on cultural activities, and I agree with you that those are so important. But I think when you can speak the language, it adds more in some spiritual and emotional way. For example, when you hear someone pray in Lakota, it hits you to your very center. Even if you do not understand everything that was spoken. But the language carries that power. So I think learning it will be a win-win situation.

:)

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chosnazzy
(deleted)









Posted:     Post subject:

`I have to agree with the person who started this topic. Without the language, the culture cannot be fully appreciated. For example, a Native language creates certain frequencies that are necessary for things like ceremonies from that particular Native tribe to be truly effective. Those who are Native honor their ancestors when they learn their Native tongue. And today there are so many opportunities to begin learning it. So yeah, why not learn it? The ancestors would be so proud to see their descendants bringing their language back. I think every Native should be required to see this movie called "Where The Spirit Lives". I highly recommend that movie.



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loveternal
(deleted)









Posted:     Post subject:

`Yes, I watched this film online. It is really heartbreaking and you end up using a lot of tissues Smile

If I were Native, I would really want to learn my language after seeing such an emotionally charged film. It makes you want to fight for what rightfully belongs to you! That is a good thing!

I have the deepest respect for those who suffered through that difficult time and who continue to suffer from the post trauma.



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brandongp605
(deleted)









Posted:     Post subject:

chosnazzy wrote:
`I have to agree with the person who started this topic. Without the language, the culture cannot be fully appreciated. For example, a Native language creates certain frequencies that are necessary for things like ceremonies from that particular Native tribe to be truly effective. Those who are Native honor their ancestors when they learn their Native tongue. And today there are so many opportunities to begin learning it. So yeah, why not learn it? The ancestors would be so proud to see their descendants bringing their language back. I think every Native should be required to see this movie called "Where The Spirit Lives". I highly recommend that movie.





I agree, the people who are affiliated with tribes/nations that have kept the spirituality and language alive should learn it. Most spiritual ceremonies are spoken with native tongue. I'm working on learning the Lakota language, but for now, I'm bilingual on my Reservation. But what about the millions of people across the Americas who's indigenous roots and languages were lost some time ago? There are millions of people with native admixture who are focusing on reclaiming their Indigenous identity, but the language was lost.
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