The Decline Of Native Languages In The US

The Decline Of Native Languages In The US

There was a time when the US had an unbelievably large number of native languages spoken inside its borders. However, over time, and with the concept of globalization, things have changed, and a lot of languages that were previously spoken are now extinct, with many other dying a slow death. The reason for this is the colonization era, when white settlers from the European continent murdered a large number of natives in the US, sometimes wiping out even 90 percent of an entire native population, often through unfair means. All this lead to the large-scale death of the native population through disease, sicknesses such as smallpox (brought by the Europeans to kill the natives).

As of now, there are a minority of native languages still spoken by native communities in the US. Before the arrival of Columbus, there were about 300 native languages, but many are extinct now. Some of these native languages that continue to be spoken among Native Americans are Navajo, Yupik, Dakota, Apache, Keres, Cherokee, Ojibwa, Choctaw, Zuni, and Pima. Of these, Navajo is the highest spoken among native languages and Pima is the least spoken. English is the official language, most of these languages are spoken only by a minority.

Marshallese Educational Initiative

More than 12,000 Marshallese live in northwest Arkansas and nearby cities in Oklahoma and Missouri. Approximately 7,000 Marshallese reside in Springdale, Arkansas, comprising roughly 10% of the city’s population. Many left their island homelands for a number of reasons: lack of employment and educational opportunities, lingering effects of radiation due to nuclear testing, the evident consequences of sea level rise, or simply to join their families in the United States. Given the extant pressures in the Marshall Islands, the population in the region and throughout the state of Arkansas is expected to increase steadily over the next decades.

The Marshallese community in the region is close-knit. Saturdays are often spent celebrating first birthdays and Sundays spent worshiping at church. Men and women actively participate in community sporting events. Softball, volleyball, and basketball tournaments are common, especially when held in conjunction with celebrations like Constitution Day (celebrated in the United States on Memorial Day weekend), Namdrik Day, Jaluit Day, and Bikini Day, among others. Like in the Islands, Marshallese families are large and often 3 generations share the same living space. The majority of the working population is employed in the poultry industry but is becoming increasingly diverse in employment. They pride themselves on helping others in need and are dedicated to retaining their unique culture and traditions.