Sad News from Oklahoma…
Lari Howard from Tahlequah just notified me that her husband, noted Cherokee language teacher Gregg Howard, crossed over Thursday morning after a long bout with cancer. I had spoken with them by phone just a few weeks ago, and he was upbeat as ever.
The memorial service will be at Park Hill Presbyterian Church on Sunday, May 3 at 11:00. Another memorial will be held this summer in Dallas. If you make it to either, tell Lari that you’re my student, give her a big hug from me, and that
Gregg was from Central City, Kentucky, between Hopkinsville and Bowling Green, but had lived for years in Dallas, and more recently in Tahlequah. He appears on several of the Rich-Heape videos, including “Trail of Tears,” in which he portrays Sequoyah.
Over the decades, Gregg’s publications on Cherokee language and culture, as well as workd on Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and others, have reached tens of thousands, if not more. He called his company VIP, for Various Indian Peoples, but as far as anyone in the field cared, Gregg Howard was the VIP of Native American language education.
My cousins and friends, the number of fluent Cherokee speakers has dropped 20% in the past seven years alone. If you are interested in preserving our ancestral language, no matter whether it’s through SpeakCherokee.com or some other means, then please start today. Do something, don’t just think about it. Say something, anything, in Cherokee. Sing a song. Go to www.SpeakCherokee.com/sing.htm and follow along with the video. More songs will be added shortly.
We don’t have Gregg to lean on anymore like a walking stick. It’s time for you to stand up.