WASHINGTON, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- (This material is distributed by MediaLinks TV, LLC on behalf of CCTV. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.)
CGTN America releases "The Disappearing Language of Navajo."
Like many other indigenous tribes, the Navajo have their own language. During World War II, U.S. Marine Corps fighting the Japanese used Navajo 'code talkers' to send secure messages. The Navajo helped win the Pacific war. Today, the Navajo language – or Diné Bizaad in Navajo – has been designated as "vulnerable" by UNESCO. On Navajo land, there are roughly around 170 thousand people who still speak Navajo.
Dr. Audra J. Platero is the Principle of Tséhootsooí Diné Bi'Ólta'(TDB) School, a Navajo language immersion school in Window Rock, Arizona that offers students both native language and English education.
She showed us the school library. Dr. Platero is very proud that the teachers here can translate almost any book in English to Navajo. However, she is also concerned the ability for kids to speak in Navajo is declining.
She told us the Diné language is disappearing for two reasons.
First, during boarding school era – a period that lasted from the 1860s to 1978 – many Navajos were forbidden to speak their own language. The resulting trauma continued after Navajo who were students in this era became parents and the experience affected their ability to teach their kids the Diné language.
Second, in 2000, Arizona passed Prop 203, an "English-only state law" that requires all public school students who are "English learners" to be taught on English immersion classes. The continuing existence of this school became an issue. Tribal leaders traveled from Window Rock to Phoenix many times to keep the school going.
Dr. Platero cried when she said, she used to have those "what if" moments when kids no longer know their origins. "Where are we going to be?"
A survey conducted in 1990s showed only 18% of pre-school children speak Navajo and most of the parents speak English with their children.
Dr. Platero hopes that after vaccination against COVID-19, students will be able to return to schools and re-immerse themselves in Diné culture.
"It works. You can see it. You can hear it. You can feel it," she says. Dr. Platero said when she heard children singing in the hallway in Navajo and getting excited to talk about the tradition of wearing jewelry, you can feel their pride.
Click here for more about all "The Disappearing Language of Navajo" and to view the report: https://newsus.cgtn.com/news/2021-05-29/The-disappearing-language-of-Navajo-10E3njPGbFC/index.html
Xu Dezhi, Medialinks TV, LLC, +1 202-393-1850, [email protected]
SOURCE CGTN America