University of Alaska Southeast professor Lance A. Twitchell.

Native Languages in 'Extreme Danger'

January 03, 2013


A recent article appearing on by Lance A. Twitchell, an assistant professor of Alaska Native Languages for the University of Alaska Southeast, discusses the importance of preserving Native American languages. He says that all Native languages are in "extreme danger" and that some will be gone in the next decade, unless people begin the arduous task of saving them.

"As people of nations and cultures, we need to speak our languages. In order to stop them from dying, we only need to speak them: in our homes, to our children, to each other, on our land. It will redefine who we are, and it will be the single largest act of defiance we can make today towards a past that tried to kill us off. We can redefine ourselves as multilingual and become leaders for the rest of the nation. We can teach ourselves so many things about our ancestors, our children, our land, and ourselves."

Read his full article, titled "America the Multilingual" at


Submitted by Anonymous on

I am no Native , I am from Germany but... . we had this problem in the very northern part of Germany : Friesland .Children couldn't understand their grandparents.So the gouverment of Lower Saxony decided that the friesan language is a regular school subject and now the number of speakers is growing !Perhaps that is a possibility .
I am sorry, my English is not very good!
I wish you a blessed and safe new year and that you are in light whereever you go !

Submitted by Anonymous on

"We" nthe answereed to take responsibility for maintaining and retaining our native languages. We cannot expect grants, schools, or programs to help us do this. Where does it start? It starts in the home by using the language as it was originally used. Teaching children by using the home language. Headstart or early education programs are not the answer. Children start non-native speaking school too early and the exposure to their language, culture, traditions are lost as attempts are made to educate them early.

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