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Thread: American Indians in Oklahoma say English-only policy diminishes their tribal languages

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    American Indians in Oklahoma say English-only policy diminishes their tribal languages

    American Indians in Oklahoma say English-only policy diminishes their tribal languages

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Legislation to make English the state's official language has run into opposition from American Indians, who say their native tongues are dying fast enough without any help from lawmakers.

    As Oklahoma observes its centennial year, the English-only issue points up divisions that persist more than a century after Indians were forcibly marched to the region and then endured a series of land grabs.

    Many of Oklahoma's 37 federally recognized tribes are fighting to save their languages and cultures from extinction years after the end of organized efforts to stamp them out.

    Critics of the English-only Legislation point out that Oklahoma's very name is formed from two Choctaw Indian words -- "okla" and "homma" -- that mean "red man."

    "If you go to English only, what are we going to call the state of Oklahoma?" said Terry Ragan, director of the Choctaw Nation's language program. "Even town names in the state will have to be named differently."

    Supporters of the legislation say it could end bilingual state government documents, such as driver's license tests, and force immigrants to learn English and assimilate into American society.

    English-only legislation has been adopted in 28 states and measures are pending in 12 states, said Rob Toonkel, director of communications for U.S. English, Inc. of Washington, D.C., an interest-group that supports making English the nation's official language. A similar measure has been filed in Congress.

    The national English-only movement does not want to deprive American Indians of their native languages but is aimed at standardizing government documents into a single language as a symbol of unity for immigrant populations, Toonkel said.

    "It's very much an assimilation issue," he said. "We should make sure they become part of the country."

    But assimilation is a charged word for many American Indians, whose ancestors were forced from their traditional lands and sent on the Trail of Tears in the 19th century.

    English-only restrictions were imposed in Indian Territory to expunge tribal languages and culture, said Kirke Kickingbird, an Oklahoma City attorney and member of the Kiowa tribe.

    "That whole era was really about assimilation," he said.

    Chad Smith, chief of the 250,000-member Cherokee Nation, the largest American Indian tribe in the United States, said the state's image is harmed when cultural differences are not embraced.

    "There's a message sent to those outside of Oklahoma that we're intolerant, we're colloquial and we want to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world," Smith said.

    "To our tribes it says that if there's an official language, your language is secondary and all other languages are secondary," said Smith, who has also criticized athletic teams using Indian mascots and names.

    Supporters point out that the legislation doesn't interfere with the teaching or learning of American Indian languages. But critics said a government policy could impede efforts to revive tribal languages.

    The Intertribal Wordpath Society, a nonprofit group based in Norman, estimates that only about 9,000 people are fluent in the Cherokee language and 4,000 in the Choctaw language.

    Fewer than a dozen people are fluent in other American Indian languages, including those of the Osage, Pawnee and Chiricahua Apache tribes, according to the group.

    "We have absolutely nothing against English. It's great if people speak English," said Alice Anderton, a former linguist at the University of Oklahoma and executive director of the Intertribal Wordpath Society. "But it's great if people speak English plus some other language of heritage."

    Article written by AP writer Tim Talley.

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    "But it's great if people speak English plus some other language of heritage." said Alice Anderson
    That's the whole point dumba**! When all the goverment forms are in spanish (or chinese) they don't have to bother to learn English!

    "There's a message sent to those outside of Oklahoma that we're intolerant, we're colloquial and we want to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world," Smith said.
    No actually it says you might have a little pride left.

    They should be backing this because the mexicans who run to a place where they don't have to bother to learn the language (it's amazing how many people are happy to learn spanish so they can talk with them HERE) will certainly not learn indian and their languages and culture will slip the rest of the way away.
    Stupid whinny PC victim crap:
    I'd like to know how many millions of tax dollars that are used to print everything in other languages and to have so many interpritors (never mind that they don't always speak the greatest English) on hand for all the goverment agencies.

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    English-only policy

    Alright, den. So, vhere are de dokuments og forms i Norvegian ? 1

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    Quote Originally Posted by klokkwerx
    "It's very much an assimilation issue," he said. "We should make sure they become part of the country."
    I know the above quote was made regarding immigrant workers that are coming into the state of Red man(or is it Oklahoma?) lol .But I can see why this statement is met with derision by the "recognised". Indian community. They must feel agrieved that the people who fought to displace them are now welcoming foreign immigrants into the state, with it seems the only proviso is that you learn Eengleesh senor!

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    This article does open my eyes to an issue like this, I think Vinlanders should get into action to save English in this land before it gets bastardised and everyone is speaking esparanto!

    Here are some links of interest:

    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...D/question.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English-only_movement

    http://www.us-english.org/inc/

    http://www.proenglish.org/notenglishonly.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambiorix
    I believe English should be the only national language, or make the language law a state-wide law and demand that all states have english as the national language but can vote on a secondary language if there is a cultural reason for it.
    I think that there should be only one language made law- English in the US and Canada! If some one wants to speak their non-English tongue then they can do so in the privacy of their home, or go back to where they came from.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ambiorix
    Either way... I don't see the cultural reason for forcing the entire nation to learn Spanish just because a few states in the south-west have a high spanish-speaking population which does not want to assimilate into the rest of the national society. Making English the national language would in no way hurt the native tribes as they could still freely speak their language. Most tribal lands are actually not really a part of the U.S. exactly anyhow, aren't they self-governed by the laws of the tribes? I always thought it was the Navajo Nation, the Cherokee Nation, the Chippewa Nation, etc.
    So very true!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambiorix
    I think this is basically the Aztlan movement pulling strings through the NativeAmer peoples. Most mexicans seem to identify themselves as Aztec these days and I think they view the U.S.A. as their enemy.
    The funny thing is that I speak Espanol, this is due to living in Espana and other Espanol speaking countries for many years. The truth about all this that one has to understand the cultural make up of the Mestizo, not all are alike.

    For Mexico, the ruling class is White folks who are of Spanish (Espanol) or Italian blood, these Folks are generally educated. The middle to the lower classes are the Mestizo, they are the people who are mixed with White and Indian blood, they are educated to non-educated. The lower class are generally the Indians, they are not educated, thats due to living in the country and on Ejidos (community type farmland) where there are no public services like schools, plus they have a cultural block set in them. Half of the Indian population in Mexico dont even speak Spanish! They speak their native dialect.

    The majority of labor workers in the US are the Indios from Guerrero and other surrounding states of Mexico City. These people are the little worker bees on the farms, contruction sites, Mc Donalds and other labor type jobs, but these people have nothing to do with the Chicanos!, except in one case, and that is when they have kids and plan to stay inthe US! Their kids get assimilated in the Chicano culture very fast to where it is alarming! Chicano culture is a sub-culture that stands by it self. In Mexico the Mexicans hate the Chicano culture with a passion because it misrepresents the Mexican, and when a Chicano comes to Mexico he is treated just as bad as a Gringo, they are pegged real fast due to their accent and style of dress. Plus the Chicano doesnt speak Spanish, he speaks Modismo (slang), so when in Mexico he is shunned and when spoken to it is only in Spanish.

    So the sick and twisted thing of all this is that its confusing and packed full of lies that the media tells us. The media still denies that the problem is the lack of assimilation, the illegals are hurting the economy, and the root of it all! The educated Chicanos are the ones driving the band wagon when it comes to the crying in the media, not the laborers. All the educated Chicanos are doing is crying for the sympathy to the leftist politicians that have the power to give them the leeway in politics, and so they take this to empower them selves to where they have a false feeling of pride! With this amok pride, it damages allot, the whole country, and it all starts with the language that they (Chicanos) dont even speak! Chicanos are highly mislead and confused when it comes to their identity! This Atzlan thing, it had nothing to do with them, it comes from the AmerIndians, a culture which was a blink of an eye in time. If they are so proud of who they are then why even hold on speaking Espanol a White man's language, they should be shooting for Nawatl/Nahuatl, a true Aztec language! How confused they are! So here are some factual realities, the source of the problem at hand.

    I personally feel that one of and the main source of this language/culture problem starts with our own Folk (mainly the Folk of our blood but not our faith), the ones who are sympathetic, the traitors, like the construction contractor and of their ilk, the ones who hire illegals, and especially the leftish liberals in politics!

    My personal solution to this problem:
    - Speak only English and be aware of who and what I am interacting with.
    - Insist on speaking English in public.
    - Buy American if possible.
    - Live out of the main-stream in general.
    - Write State and Federal representatives expressing your support of an English only law enacted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by klokkwerx
    I think that there should be only one language made law- English in the US and Canada!
    What about Quebec and other traditionally Acadian lands?
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd
    What about Quebec and other traditionally Acadian lands?
    These Folks (Canadien français) need to gain or be given their independence or assimilate. Canada suffers allot on this issue, you can read tons about it on Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Canadian
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acadians

    I am for these peoples independence and the preservation of their culture, but if they cannot gain or be given their independence in Canada then they need to assimilate to the English speaking majority, and then speak their tongue amongst their kin in private or public, but government should recognize one language to operate with. Besides, Canada already recognizes these two languages as official, so this is another touchy subject, to where there is a division of Canadians, just like the US.
    Or, If they only want to speak French and dont like whats going on over there, then they can go to France where the majority speak French.

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