About ~ nOnzAk'@bE
To keep alive the rich heritage of the Yuchi people by creating new young speakers of our unique language through breath-to-breath immersion methods with master speakers and children.
Our Unique Language
The Yuchi (also spelled Euchee) are the keepers of a unique language and worldview. Through the work of the Yuchi Language Project, young parents are once again raising children solely in Yuchi as their first language. Yuchi people were forced from eastern homelands to Oklahoma on the so-called Trail of Tears. Despite these hardships and the lack of a land base, the Yuchi community continues to maintain its distinctive identity, cultural and social institutions, including ceremonies, medicinal knowledge, and unwritten histories, through the Yuchi language.
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.
When we speak our own language, we embody our Indigenous culture and worldview like our ancestors.
YLP has grant funding to work with remaining first-language speakers who carry valuable language, stories, ceremonial, and cultural knowledge. This project requires a survey of all language resources and speakers, including semi fluent elders in the community who grew up with Yuchi as their first language. We are also blessed with an additional circle of elders between the ages of 60-90 who grew up with Yuchi as their first language and are contributing to recording sessions.
The current world crisis (COVID19) has reminded our Yuchi people to focus on what is essential, valuable, and natural. We have planted a 3-sisters garden to begin raising our traditional foods as a language learning opportunity. We see that the endangerment of our Indigenous languages is closely tied to the endangerment of flora and fauna in our environments.
The Yuchi Language Project (YLP) is a non-profit organization designed as a living language habitat to produce a new generation of Yuchi speakers.
The Yuchi House in Sapulpa, Oklahoma has become a home for the language where Yuchi people ages 3 months to 80+ years come together to live in the language and embrace yUdjEhalA, the Yuchi way. Our community-based program started in 1996 and has created 16 second-language speakers who are competent to teach the language.
Yuchi Language Project (YLP) serves the entire Yuchi community through language classes for all ages, culture camps, master-apprentice sessions, curriculum development, and by providing a wide range of opportunities for youth that promote health and wellness.
Restore the vitality of the Yuchi language in our homes, ceremonies, churches, and create a sustainable language community where the fullness of the Yuchi worldview can thrive for future generations
Our Unique Challenge
Yuchi is an oral language that was passed from mother to child since time immemorial. Our program has developed a writing system and its own teaching materials to aide learners of all ages in reading, writing, typing and texting in the Yuchi language. However, our primary focus is on developing oral speaking proficiency and keeping the language alive in our community.
Today we must be intentional about restoring the natural transmission of our language in the home. As we work with preverbal babies and committed parents, we are happy to report that this work is successful. Today, toddlers are once again speaking Yuchi as their first language!
Our Language has grounded us in our identity.
yUdjEha gO'wAdAnA-A gOyUôndanEchE s@nlA!
Of the 39 tribes in Oklahoma, we are the only tribe who does not receive annual funding allocations from the federal government. Yuchi people maintain a distinct identity, vibrant culture, unique language and history but have not received federal recognition as a separate tribal entity and therefore remain ineligible for most federal funding.
This means that your partnership with our program is all the more important in order to maintain momentum.
n@gO'wAdAnA t'AlA aKAê gOê. gOhahanE sh@^ Enû k'ala OnOnzOTaha TahAê nÔk'âfÂ!
We are deeply appreciative of the generous individuals and organizations who step forward to support our work to revitalize the Yuchi language and keep it alive. s@nlA k'ayasOTa to Running Strong for American Indian Youth as we celebrate our 25 year partnership!
We invite you to join us in our work to raise up a new generation of fluent speakers.
yUdjEha KAnAnô, yUdjEhalA nÔ'wAdA
We are Yuchi, we speak Yuchi