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The Heart of The Culture



Chahta Anumpa Aiikhυna

Kids Tushka Homma

   The main purpose of the School of Choctaw Language or Chahta Anumpa Aiikhvna is to teach and to perpetuate the Choctaw language, culture, and history.  The Language Program has grown from having one class taught at the University of Oklahoma via satellite in 1998, to currently having 31 employees and serving 2,000 people through community classes, early childhood classes, public schools, colleges and through the use of the Internet.  There is one goal that the people of the School of Choctaw Language share: teach the Choctaw language to everyone that wants to learn.

   If you are interested in learning the Choctaw language, there is the opportunity to start early.  Choctaw Language Early Childhood classes are taught at 14 different Head Start centers.  The teachers are provided with the appropriate teaching tools in order to spread Choctaw Language education to the youngsters.  Currently, two Head Start centers have an onsite early childhood facilitator who is a fluent speaker, able to give children an interactive lesson in hearing and speaking the Choctaw language.

   Internet classes are also available to those desiring to become fluent in the Choctaw language.  The language is taught worldwide and is available to anyone who would like to learn, not just those of Choctaw descent.  The classes are taught both during the day and night and they are completely free of charge.  The proper instructional material for these classes can be purchased at the Choctaw Nation Book Store, which can be reached at 888-932-9199.

   One of the main outlets of Choctaw Language Education is a public school.  At this time, there are 36 schools in the 10 ½ counties of the Choctaw Nation that teach the Choctaw language, but the goal of the School of Choctaw Language is to eventually teach in all 88 schools in the 10 ½ counties.  Though at this time they do not have the teaching staff required for this goal, they invite you to contact them at 1-800-522-6170 if your school is interested in getting a Choctaw Language course.  The more certified teachers Choctaw Language gains, the opportunity for more schools increases.

   The School of Choctaw Language public school teachers are certified by the state of Oklahoma and have their tribal certification from the Choctaw Nation, making them highly qualified.  They instruct up to 500 students on a daily basis during the school term.  The classes are brought to the schools using the One-Net communication system, which allows the students to hear the spoken language in daily lessons given by the Choctaw language teachers.  These courses also carry foreign language credit to count towards state graduation and college entrance requirement.  Currently, the classes Choctaw 1 and 2 are offered.  These classes are accredited by the State Department of Education.

   Though the teaching staff is limited, it is growing quickly.  In the year of 2009-2010, the number of certified Choctaw Language teachers increased from 5 to 11.  The week of May 16, the Choctaw Language became the first tribal language to be added to teaching certificates, once reading "Native Language," now reading "Choctaw."

   Choctaw Language courses are also available in colleges including Southeastern, East Central, Murray State, Eastern and Carl Albert.  The Higher Education Programs for Southeastern located in Idabel and Ardmore provide them as well.  Only at Southeastern are classes available to take on campus.

   The classes provided in these colleges are Choctaw 1-4.  Recently, two new classes were introduced to Southeastern: both intermediate and advanced conversational Choctaw.  This gives Southeastern 18 credit hours available in Choctaw Language courses, giving them the ability to create a minor in Choctaw Language and Culture.  A proposal for the creation of this minor has been given to the State Board of Regents.

   There are community classes, meeting weekly, offered for the Choctaw Language as well.  There are 30 sites at this time, both located within the Choctaw Nation and outside.  The School of Choctaw Language is also in the process of creating a web site that will provide Choctaw Language lessons equipped with audio.

   If you would like to become more familiar with the Choctaw language, but do not wish to enroll in a course, the Choctaw Nation Book Store has a variety of materials that are helpful in learning the language.

   The entire concept of the School of Choctaw Language is to inspire people to get involved with the Choctaw language.  The heart of a culture is its language; so if you are a speaker of Choctaw, teach it to the ones close to you and anyone who wants to learn.  If you are interested in getting your child enrolled in a Choctaw Language course, or if you yourself are interested in learning the language, contact the School of Choctaw Language at 1-800-522-6170

 
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