The Pilgrim Greeters Still Live Here!

The Wampanoag greeted the Pilgrims, showing them how to farm and assisting them through the the harsh, disease-filled winter. And they got together with the Pilgrims for a feast to give thanks, a turkey-eating ritual that became a US national holiday.

The Wampanoag have exciting news: After more than a century, they have a native speaker. Six years of age, she is the first to speak Massachusett (wam) natively in seven generations.

Documenting this exciting news is “Âs Nutayuneân” (or “We Still Live Here”), an official selection of the American Documentary Showcase and the Full Frame, Big Sky, Environmental, Santa Barbara International, and Vail Film Festivals—that’s six awards. Available for USD 19.99, the production tells the remarkable story of the revitalization of Wôpanâak or Massachusett—a case in point why languages should be classified as “sleeping” or “dormant” rather than “extinct” when there are no native speakers.

Today, the Wôpanâak Langauge Reclamation Project has 11,500 words (many from a translation of the Bible) in its dictionary, is working on a layperson’s grammar text, has phrase books, and is planning on opening an immersion school in four years.

This post inspired by the post Wampanoag film on the Replicated Typo site.

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