Lost Languages Find a New Voice in Radio

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hopi Kachina Clown (hjhipster/flickr)

If you’re a regular listener to the radio station KUYI in Keams Canyon, Arizona, you probably hear Native American intro music a lot. That’s because KUYI is one of roughly 50 stations that broadcasts on Native American lands to Native American listeners. And to boot, they broadcast in Native American languages, which are otherwise falling into widespread disuse.

It's been a hard-fought fight among Native Americans to enjoy the rights and privileges that most other Americans are born into. It wasn't until the 1960s under the Nixon administration did the idea of self-determination among Indian tribes finally take hold, making possible the preservation of cultures that were on this land long before European settlers.

Loris Taylor is president and CEO of Native Public Media, a network of stations and people that attempts to preserve Native American languages and cultures through many forms of media, including the radio.


Loris Taylor

Produced by:

Joe Hernandez

Comments [2]

richard alun davis from Polacca, AZ

Lomatalow'vah (good morning) and kwakw'ah (thank you) WNYC for featuring this topic. With so much confusion, fear and hatred tied up in the now decades old English (((versus))) Spanish pseudo-debate, thousands are kept ignorant about the hundreds of languages that were here long before a lick of those tongues spoke. Extirpation of a people is facilitated by removal of not only their land but their speech. All Native and First Nations media outlets appreciate your thoughtful focus on the importance of keeping all endangered languages vibrant.

richard alun davis

Aug. 17 2012 10:41 AM

I can't think of a better way to keep Native Americans on the reservation than by focusing on a language that is completely useless outside the reservation.

Aug. 17 2012 10:24 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.