By J.D. ARCH
The Speaker Consortium, which consists of fluent Cherokee from the Cherokee Nation, the United Keetoowah Band, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee, met in Cherokee and Robbinsville last week to discuss the Cherokee language.
The event was organized by Kituwah Preservation and Education Program staff Billy Joe Rich and Bo Soap Lossiah.
Lossiah said, “The main purpose of the consortium was to bridge the gap between fluent Cherokee speakers with children and non-speakers to identify where the second language learner needs help.”
The first meeting was at Robbinsville High School where the Snowbird Cherokee Language Camp recited the pledge of allegiance to the United States Flag in Cherokee. They followed that with two versus of Amazing Grace sung in Cherokee.
Shirley Oswalt, one of the leaders who teaches the Cherokee language and Cherokee arts and crafts, explained how the Consortium meets to determine the correct phonetics to words that are new to today’s generation. With the advancement of technology and the different innovations present in today’s culture, new words such as cell phone, Facebook, and other words that were not prevalent even 25 years ago need to be created for today’s generation.