The Osage Nation Language Department (ONLD) opens registrations for 2021-2022 community courses on Wednesday September 1, 2021. Virtual and in-person classes begin Monday September 13, 2021 for all ages. A variety of levels are offered, including classes for children, beginner, intermediate, advanced, reading and writing, among others. All classes are free.
“We have made great strides in our work to bring the Osage language back to everyday use,” said Chief Standing Bear. “The staff in the Osage language department do an incredible job and I encourage members of the Osage community around the world to participate in these community courses. Learning and speaking our language is the key to keeping our traditions vibrant. “
The Osages were originally found in what is now Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas, and they were moved to what is now the Osage Reservation in the late 1800s. Despite their circumstances, they did. could cling to their language and their ways. Over time, the “pure Osage” language was diluted under European influences. The Osages who were born in 1906 and later were sent to residential schools, when they were forced to stop speaking Osage and speak English. The Osages born after 1940 had English as their mother tongue; they heard about Osage. The language has diluted even more and much of the meaning has been lost.
In 2003, ONLD was built with a mission to revitalize the Osage language in its purest form and to teach Osage people to speak Osage in a unique way and in everyday conversation.
“The commitment of our employees to maintaining our language is inspiring,” said Vann Bighorse, Director of ONLD. “We are delighted to begin another year of classes and to continue to develop our program to meet the needs of the people of Osage.”
To further support revitalization efforts, ONLD worked with the Osage Nation Cultural Department, using funds from the CARES Act, to launch a new website in March 2021: www.osageculture.com. The website includes a variety of tools for learning the Osage language, including a dictionary and access to download the Osage keyboard on desktops and mobile devices. The departments have also created a series of videos dedicated to sharing, preserving and celebrating the tribal values, teachings and customs of the Wahzhazhe people. These videos are available on the Osage Nation YouTube Channel.