The Mandan language is threatened with extinction and while schools and elders have worked to keep fluency alive, it has been a difficult struggle.
Sustaining our language has faced numerous obstacles:
- Fluent speakers are 65 and older on average, and their numbers steadily vanish;
- Students have not been equally exposed to the best available learning materials and language-teaching methods;
- Classroom instruction is often too short;
- There are too few language teachers to fill schools’ needs;
- Teachers need more professional training to be effective;
- Advanced students’ needs are not being met;
- The languages have not been made familiar through public signage.
We believe that the strength and survival of our tribal nation depends on the nurturing of our languages, cultures, and social and spiritual knowledge.
In January 2014 the MHA Nation embarked on a systematic revitalization intitiative to address these issues and establish a long-term process for fluency. The elements are coordinated classroom study using new language-learning materials, and coordinated teacher training in the best language education methods in the field.
The success of the MHA Language Preservation Initiative depends on widespread interest and participation among our communities. If you have questions about what you can do to help your language be spoken in the home, the classroom and in society, contact Thomasina Mandan, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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