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Monday, March 8, 2010

Someone ACED Test Three! Study Cherokee and Help the Elders

Osiyo!

We have a few landmarks to celebrate! First, this mailing list has passed the 700 mark. Second, Eve Brown of Washington State is the first person to attempt Test 3 – and she aced it! She says it’s a matter of returning to a “beginner’s mind” and just replaying the audio and video instructional. As we say in Cherokee, “Tsalagi gayotli goliga” – I speak Cherokee like a child.

Today is a Turtle (Dagasi) day on the old Calendar, the first day of the cycle of twenty. It’s a day of new beginnings, and the last Turtle day before spring begins.

Is there a venture you’ve been thinking of starting? Let me suggest enrolling in Speak Cherokee Level 1. For all you begin in March, your first month’s tuition ($20) will be donated to heating assistance for the Lakota elders at Wounded Knee, where a brutal winter has brought increased hardship. So far, two of you on this list have done that, which means $40 in heating assistance. If you ever needed another incentive to begin to study the Cherokee language (and tell the truth, you DO claim to be Cherokee at powwow time, don’t you?) you owe it to yourself and your children to become more familiar with the language.

In the coming weeks, I hope to offer some insights into one of the great luminaries of the efforts to renew the Cherokee language and culture, the late Chief Hastings Shade, who passed in February after decades of fragile health. I was blessed to spend a few days with Chief Shade in Tahlequah in 2002, and I’ll share some of what I learned… definitely a major awakening for me!
As Chief Wilma Mankiller prepares to make her crossing, give a thought to the elders who have crossed in the last few years. Who stands up to take their place?

You can’t turn back the clock and be raised in the traditional culture, but you CAN at least study and use the beautiful and multi-layered Cherokee language.

Nvwadohiyada, peace and healing to you,
Brian Wilkes

PS: Some of you have asked for more content of a spiritual nature, such as prayers. I will begin creating that content, starting with instructional videos for the Lord’s Prayer and a few shorter prayers.

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