News 9 - September 1, 2023 6:09 am


The University of Tulsa is renewing its efforts to help preserve the Cherokee language.

This is one of several efforts underway to teach more people the language, which is considered to be extremely endangered.

Right now, TU is doing this class on its own, but both the university and the Cherokee Nation said they can see themselves working together on the curriculum in the future.

Inside a classroom at Tyrrell Hall, a handful of students are starting to learn Cherokee, with George Stopp as their instructor.

“The last time we had offered Cherokee was in the late 90s,” Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Kirsten Olds said.

She is not sure why the university stopped offering the course but is proud to have it back again.

“It kind of behooves all of us in Tulsa and in Oklahoma to kind of continue advocacy for language and tribal heritage preservation. And so, this is just one step as part of that,” Olds said.

“I love to see language efforts happening organically, whether it’s among our citizens, whether it’s great institutions like TU, I mean, we need that sort of effort,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.

The Cherokee Nation has several language programs, including one for beginners. Registration is open now for a free online class that begins September 11th, taught by Ed Fields.

“He’s been very proud when he has more than 1,000 people enrolled. And they’re pre-recorded, so if you miss a class, you can catch up later,” said Ryan Mackey, the Program Manager for the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program

Five students recently graduated from the Master Apprentice Program and are expected to become teachers of the Cherokee language.

“We can be proud to be Cherokee, but when we have our language, we know who we are, where we come from, and it helps us determine where we need to go,” Mackey said.

Even if you’re not a student here at TU, you can audit the class. For more information, click here.


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