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UmoNhoN Iye: The Omaha Speaking (2019)UmoNhoN Iye: The Omaha Speaking (2019)

At the time of Columbus, there were about 600 languages spoken by the Native American tribes in North America. Today that number has dwindled to about 100 languages that are actively spoken, and many of those face extinction. This one-hour documentary tells the story of one of those critically-endangered languages. Around 700 to 900 years ago, the Omaha tribe migrated from the Great Lakes region to what is now Nebraska. Today the remnant of the Omaha live in the town of Macy in the northeastern part of the state. Only about a dozen fluent speakers remain of the Omaha Tribe. In this movie, these remaining fluent speakers reflect on growing up with their native language and culture, the concerted efforts that were taken by the US government to suppress them (cultural assimilation through boarding schools), and why it is so important to them to preserve their traditions. Hopefulness is expressed by these elders. Dedicated educators in the public schools, Nebraska Indian Community College, the University of Omaha, and groups like the Language Conservancy, all struggle against the odds to keep the Omaha language alive. Says one of the Tribal Elders: "Our language is sacred, no one can take it from us. But without our language, our culture is going to die. We're losing everything, we must preserve our heritage. We must accept the responsibility to save it." I watched this movie on Amazon Prime.

Dan Clendenin:

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