North America’s native languages get higher education boost

Among the many institutions in North America that memorialise the native population is Miami University in Ohio, named after the Miami tribe that once spread from the state across vast sections of what is now the United States.

It is an ironic tribute considering the treatment of the Miami people, who were attacked by whites as the frontier pushed west, and whose lands were also taken.

Now, universities including Miami are in the vanguard of work to restore one of the principal cultural relics of indigenous tribes: their languages.

The efforts are made amid high-profile modern-day battles, from the contentious dispute over the names of professional sports teams, such as the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, that many consider offensive, to the fight involving the Sioux tribe over the $3.8 billion (£3 billion) Dakota Access oil pipeline.

“There’s a heightened awareness and things are changing on the national level, especially with the recognition of the global loss of small minority languages and what that means to society as a whole,” said Daryl Baldwin, director of Miami University’s Myaamia Center, which offers courses on native culture and language.

Read more: Times Higher Education

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