On American Indian Languages


I went through an interesting exercise recently……exploring rare languages, the status on them, interest level and of the ones left that I am consciously aware of, what is their potential lifespan?

I grew up in upstate New York (Richard Russo territory) and have always been fascinated by the heritage of the Mohawk Indians and the Iroquoian culture and language. I never knew about Mingo however, which is an Iroquoian language native to the areas of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia. Like so many like it, Mingo is a seriously endangered language, with very few native speakers remaining.

Source: Mingolanguage.org

Check out this interesting chart (its a tad out of date), but it is a fascinating list of percentages of the population that speak American Indian languages in their homes. Cherokee has many dialects for example and one of them alone (Tsalagi, an Iriquois language) claims 22,000 speakers.

While learning a language with a large number of speakers (Spanish, Chinese) becomes a smart career decision as we choose language classes in schools (most Americans skip the choice rather than embrace it — because there isn’t enough of a compelling need to…..), don’t you find it odd (and sad) that Americans know SO little about native American Indian languages and culture?

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

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