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.