Yuchi Language Project
yUdjEha gO’wAdAnA-A h@lA nÔthla, zOyahalA n@wElA nÔt@, TahAê nÔk’âfA. OhahanE Enû yUdjEhalA k’ala wahalA OnOnzOTa jî. abAhû yaTEchE KAlAnÔk’Âgû. nÔzEOtOtO Enû yUdjEhalA shtahaê O’wAdÂ. zOyaha nAnô sô KAnAnô!
The Yuchi Language Project’s transformative vision is to restore the vitality of the Yuchi language and create a sustainable language community where the fullness of the Yuchi worldview can thrive for future generations.
Over the last 26 years, the Yuchi Language Project non-profit has been nurturing breath-to-breath language learning habitats to produce new cohorts of Yuchi speakers. We are excited to report that for the first time in nearly 100 years, parents are raising their babies solely in Yuchi and children are once again speaking Yuchi as their first language!
Our holistic approach to revitalizing the Yuchi language and promoting community wellness consists of four key strategies as detailed in the attached schematic:
Yuchi Immersion School is our primary investment as the most effective pathway to develop new first language speakers, which is our community’s most needed resource for cultural continuity
Community Language Programs restore the broader ecosystem of the Yuchi language and provide opportunities for all Yuchi people to connect with their language, culture, and identity
Teacher/Professional Development focuses on transmitting Elder knowledge to second language learners and equipping them to implement the other programs of the Yuchi Language Project
Indigenous Language Advocacy raises the prestige of all Indigenous languages through policy, funding, and partnership development in the spirit of reciprocity and self-determination
The Yuchi Language Project is a model program for language and cultural revitalization. This 501(c)3 non-profit is designed as a living language habitat to produce a new generation of Yuchi speakers. When we speak our own language, we embody our Indigenous culture and worldview like our ancestors.
Linguists identify Yuchi as a language isolate, unrelated to any other language. This means it is one of the world’s most ancient and richest languages, carrying eons of tradition, history and a unique perspective on the world.
Using the most effective immersion methods, the Yuchi Language Project (YLP) is seeing children once again speak Yuchi at home, school, church, and at our Yuchi Ceremonial Grounds for the first time in nearly a century.
The program earned the Oklahoma Humanities Award for Education in 2013. The Yuchi language work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine (2012), Cultural Survival Quarterly (2011, 2019), Keep Talking film (2018), Language Healers film (2013), and Language Revitalization for Families, edited by Leanne Hinton (2013).
Based in Oklahoma, YLP has partnerships with over 12 local and regional organizations including the Tribal Languages Center at Bacone College. YLP provides training for and collaborates with other Native American language programs in Oklahoma, Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, and Norway. Halay Turning Heart, our Project Administrator is the 2021 NDN Changemaker Fellow representing the Great Plains region, USA.
On the international level, we have hosted Indigenous visitors from around the globe sponsored by the U.S. State Department through a partnership with Tulsa Global Alliance, earning the award for “Outstanding At Large Host” in 2016. Executive Director Richard A. Grounds, Ph.D., is Chair of the Global Indigenous Languages Caucus and head organizer for the 2019 United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.
yUdjEhanAnô sô KAnAnô
We, the Yuchi People, are still here.