© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As COVID Spreads Through Indian Country, Communities Work To Save Elders & Native Languages

On this edition of Your Call, we're discussing how COVID is affecting Native communities and putting Native languages at risk. Fewer than 120 Native American languages remain. In 2020, there were only 230 native Dakota and Lakota speakers on the Standing Rock Reservation. Their average age is 70.

Elders and those who are fluent Native language speakers are being prioritized for vaccinations, but many say we are running out of time. What’s being done to preserve and revitalize these languages?


Dr.Neyooxet Greymorning, political anthropologist, professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Native American Studies at the University of Montana, developer of the Accelerated Second Language Acquisition, and editor of Being Indigenous: Perspectives on Activism, Culture, Language and Identity

Nola Taken Alive, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal council member who recently lost her parents to COVID

Web Resources:
The New York Times, Jodi Archambault: How Covid-19 Threatens Native Languages 

The New York Times, Jack Healy: Tribal Elders Are Dying From the Pandemic, Causing a Cultural Crisis for American Indians 

Star Tribune, Chris Serres: ‘Our people are scared.’ As deaths mount, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe charts its own path to fighting COVID 

High Country News, Rebecca Nagle: The U.S. has spent more money erasing Native languages than saving them

New Republic, Nick Martin: Protecting Native Elders in a Pandemic 

Panel discussion focused on the impact of COVID-19 on First Nations on February 26th at 10am PST