Ornament and identity: language reclamation of the Native American groups in the Eastern United States

Bar­tosz Hle­bo­wicz
rece­ived: 31.01.2016 | publi­shed onli­ne: 31.05.2019
Short link: http://tiny.cc/bsum7y

A focus on the lan­gu­ages of the Nati­ve Ame­ri­can peoples who inha­bit or once inha­bi­ted the Atlan­tic Seabo­ard of the Uni­ted Sta­tes and Cana­da reve­als the­ir today’s chal­len­ges. The­se begin with a leng­thy period of con­tact with immi­gra­ting Euro­pe­ans and then the­ir descen­dants that pro­du­ced destruc­tion of many nati­ve com­mu­ni­ties, pushing inha­bi­tants out of the­ir home­lands, and often amal­ga­ma­ting survi­vors with other peoples, inc­lu­ding mem­bers of other tri­bes, as well as whi­te and black people, to the extent that today the­ir con­nec­tion with the­ir histo­ri­cal nati­ve gro­ups some­ti­mes is untra­ce­able. This in turn con­fu­ses the­ir sen­se of iden­ti­ty and makes extre­me­ly dif­fi­cult the­ir search for the­ir heri­ta­ge lan­gu­age. This is also a poli­ti­cal issue as some of tho­se tri­bes are not reco­gni­zed as Indian nations by the U.S. fede­ral govern­ment, some of the­ir non-Indian neigh­bors and some­ti­mes even by other Indian tri­bes. Thus, what may be cal­led eth­nic revi­val and com­mu­ni­ty rebuild­ing among the Nati­ve Ame­ri­cans in the East is par­alleled by poli­ti­cal strug­gle and cul­tu­ral revi­val. Lan­gu­age rec­la­ma­tion is part of this lar­ger process.

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