Date of Award
Master of Arts
Most of the innovations of the Tunica language happen in a top-down manner, with a core group of people mostly from outside of the tribe hashing out neologisms, internally consistent rules, and accessible educational materials. While many of the tribal children, especially teenagers, experience interest in learning and participating in cultural traditions such as crafts, storytelling, and powwow, most of the shaping and development of the language has up to this point happened out of their sight. This is beginning to change with multiple strategies to include students more directly in the creation of neologisms, encouragement to take ownership of their language and culture, and attempts to reframe all participants young and old as simultaneously “speakers” and “learners.” Ideologies of identity, language, education, and academic expertise all combine to create this unique Tunica reawakening experience.
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