First Prize Multicultural Non-Fiction, The Independent Publishers Book Awards
Choctaw, Creek, Sioux, Cherokee, and Ponca are just a few of the Native American tribal languages that are quickly moving towards extinction, down from the nearly six hundred that once existed. Experts predict that the number could drop to twenty by the middle of the century. Before they disappear completely, journalist Elizabeth Seay set out to track down what is left of these languages in her native Oklahoma. Her deeply felt narrative opens a window onto the quirks and intricacies of each language she encountered--and allows a glimpse into the last days of a vanishing culture.
Seay finds a "lost city": Ross Mountain, a secret community in the Ozark Mountains where 90 percent of the people, from young to old, speak a Cherokee dialect as their first language. She meets leaders in the Indian community, from Toby Hughes, who weaves spells, to Charles Chibitty, the last Comanche code talker, and his granddaughter Lacey, for whom being a Comanche seems to be a weekend hobby. The result of Seay's journey is less a study in linguistics than a lively history lesson in cultural migration, forced assimilation, and the meaning of language itself.
|Publisher:||Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.68(h) x 0.79(d)|
About the Author
ELIZABETH SEAY is a writer and editor for The Wall Street Journal, and her writing will be featured in the anthology Floating Off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journal's 'Middle Column.' She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.
Table of Contents
|Chapter 1||"Where Do I Find Lost City?"||1|
|Chapter 2||Lost Causes||13|
|Chapter 3||The Code Talker||35|
|Chapter 4||Orphan Child||55|
|Chapter 5||Plan B||79|
|Chapter 6||The Kiowa Rules||103|
|Chapter 7||"I Have Come to Cover You"||121|
|Chapter 8||Seminole Rap||143|
|Chapter 9||The Road to Ross Mountain||161|
|Chapter 10||Inside the Language||181|