Teenagers taking Comanche lessons say they’re the era that can rescue what some concern is a dying language.
The Life Prepared Heart at Lawton Public Faculties grew to become a part of the hassle this 12 months, making a Comanche language session taught by Martie Woothtakewahbitty beneath the middle’s world language curriculum. Woothtakewahbitty is not any stranger to a language class: Since 2019, she has been instructing two Comanche language/tradition lessons at Elgin Public Faculties, a course the varsity has supplied since she was in seventh grade in that class in 2007.
Between the 2 techniques, Woothtakewahbitty has about 70 college students ranging in age from center college to highschool seniors. About 20 with LPS, about 50 with Elgin. For Elgin, the category is a long-term international languages credit score, whereas college students at Lawton’s Life Prepared Heart take the brand new course as an elective. However there’s a similarity within the the reason why youthful residents of the realm want to be taught Comanche.
“I wished to delve deeper into my tradition,” mentioned Leah Bewardy, a graduate scholar at Luton.
Bewardy believes that studying the language is a step in studying its tradition and historical past, and preserving all three for the longer term. She mentioned she heard Comanche talking, however that was not one thing normal. She mentioned that there was a sheikh free in her life who spoke to her on the Comanche. However, this lady is gone, which suggests that there’s now nobody she will be able to discuss to, and which may be one of many greatest causes for attending class.
She hopes others will take it too, serving to prepare many younger folks to talk their mom tongue. It additionally suits along with her personal life goal.
“I go it on to my youngsters,” she mentioned, including that she already shares it along with her siblings. “Present them what I am studying.”
Sharing with household doesn’t cease. Pewewardy works at a daycare middle the place some youngsters are beginning to be taught the fundamentals of Comanche, so you’ll be able to share what you have realized with them, too. Studying and sharing are necessary.
“It’s,” she mentioned firmly, explaining that what you be taught could be handed on to others to maintain the language alive.
Tristan Lobarry, a scholar at MacArthur Excessive College, joined Lawton’s class a number of weeks after it started, however his studying started shortly. That is necessary for LeBarre, which is a part of Comanche however has just lately moved to the realm, so it’s new to Comanche language and tradition.
LeBarre mentioned he was intrigued by the concept of Comanche language classes when he noticed that they have been an possibility. It is not his first language class. He studied Spanish, however didn’t discover that class notably attention-grabbing.
“That is extra enjoyable,” he mentioned, including that he is additionally drawn to what he can study “being a citizen of the Comanche and my tradition.”
His purpose: to have the ability to greet folks within the Comanche and, finally, to have a dialog. LeBarre has begun to discover tradition and attending occasions, and mentioned he’d like to begin speaking to folks and perceive what they’re saying.
“That is the cool factor: realizing what they’re saying,” he mentioned, including that he wished to observe the conversations and perceive the lyrics.
Lebar, like his instructor, mentioned it was necessary for folks of his age to be taught Comanche in order that they might protect the language for future generations. And whereas many individuals is probably not aware of the Comanche nation, its folks, language and tradition, growing the language base may change that, Lebar mentioned.
Arlene Chunschen, an eighth grader at Elgin Center College, is a Comanche who needs to find out about her tradition.
“I used to be raised by a member of the tribe,” Shunshin mentioned, about why she wished to hitch the category.
Its preliminary purpose is straightforward: to strike up a dialog with others who perceive the Comanche. However she mentioned class is extra than simply language. It additionally opens doorways to Comanche tradition and historical past.
Shunshin has folks in her life who communicate Comanche, together with her grandmother and uncle, and he or she heard the language she spoke throughout her youth on tribal events. Due to this fact, she will be able to communicate the language “somewhat”, however she needs to turn into extra fluent. It is necessary to have the ability to have a dialog with others who communicate Comanche, she mentioned, including that studying the language means she will be able to share what she is aware of with others.
“I’m enthusiastic about studying the language,” she mentioned.
Lily Beaver, a ninth-grade scholar at Elgin Excessive College, mentioned she selected to return to class to fulfill the required international language credit score at her college (she had some expertise with the Comanche in sixth grade), however as a scholar, her purpose was to realize familiarity with the language, tradition, and historical past of the tribe Which has many members round Elgin space.
Pifer mentioned she would not actually have a background in Comanche, so the category is a selected studying expertise the place you’re employed to be taught in regards to the tradition and have a dialog. With studying comes understanding, and he or she believes that understanding is necessary to herself and others.
“All languages are necessary,” she mentioned. That is the id of a folks.
That is why Pifer agrees that it is necessary for younger folks to be taught Comanche, to allow them to assist protect the language.
“There are usually not many first language audio system left,” she mentioned, including that it’s as much as the following era to proceed the custom.
LeAnn Tahsequah, a scholar at Elgin Excessive College, is a Comanche who has folks in her life who communicate the language. However whereas she has heard the spoken language, she doesn’t communicate it herself. That is why she joined and her purpose is similar as a few of her classmates: to turn into expert sufficient to talk the language comfortably, and maybe be taught somewhat about her household.
“I need to have the ability to communicate my language,” she mentioned, including that her purpose was to be taught it properly sufficient to go the Comanche to her siblings and kids.
Because of this it is usually concerned within the Youth Training Programme, which goals to show language and tradition to younger members of the Comanche Nation. As a tribal princess, she mentioned it was necessary to have the ability to current herself on the Comanche on events.
“I need to have the ability to train them Comanche as properly,” she mentioned, including that her purpose is to convey the language again into widespread use “and make a change.”
JaMarcus Jarvis, a sophomore at Elgin, is a Comanche at his mom’s aspect, and is glad he can share what he is studying as he learns by himself.
“At dwelling, I discuss to my mother,” Jarvis mentioned.
Jarvis mentioned his mom is proud that her son is studying Comanche, and mentioned his purpose is to unfold the language exterior his household, the place he’s a part of the youthful era of students. Like him, Jarvis’ older sister is in her second 12 months of Comanche language lessons. His older brothers know the language. One brother has three youngsters, which suggests the opportunity of studying the mom tongue in a brand new era.
Letting the language disappear means “no extra,” and Jarvis mentioned he did not need that to occur.
“I’m a part of the Comanche. And I need to be taught extra about my tradition,” he mentioned.
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