Speaking and Sharing the Language Keeps It Alive

By speaking and sharing the language, Chickasaw people are ensuring its survival for many years to come. Here, discover how Chickasaw linguists and elders are working to preserve their ancestral tongue.

17 Items

Preserving the Language

Emma McLeod and Ellen Chapman
Ellen Chapman and Emma McLeod explain that teaching the native language helps to preserve Chickasaw culture and heritage for future generations.

The Timeless Dish of Pashofa

A Chickasaw Culinary Tradition
Pashofa is a traditional Chickasaw & Choctaw dish made from cracked corn, or hominy, and stewed pork.

Picking Wild Onions

A Chickasaw Culinary Tradition
Native Americans, and Chickasaws in particular, have a rich history of using wild onions in their cooking.

Chickasaw as a Living Language

Lisa Billy
Though some Native American languages have been lost, Chickasaw continues to thrive as a living language.

Importance of My Native Language

Lisa Billy
When Lisa Billy's children reached school age, she knew they would never be taught the history of their own people if they went to public school.

Survival of the Chickasaw Language

Catherine Willmond and Pamela Munro
Chickasaw is an endangered language, but its chances of survival are much better thanks to the life's work of fluent speaker Catherine Willmond.

Joshua Hinson

S7 • E6
Joshua Hinson, Director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, is passionate about language and how it emulates culture.

Hearing Elders Speaking Chickasaw

Lisa Billy
Lisa Billy recalls growing up, hearing a large group of elders speaking and praying in Chickasaw, and how it ignited her desire to learn it.

Reviving the Chickasaw Language

Joshua Hinson
Joshua Hinson talks about the efforts to revitalization the Chickasaw language.

The Chickasaw Language Committee

Joshua Hinson
The Chickasaw Language Committee was organized in the 1990s and is comprised of fluent speakers appointed by the Governor.

New Words: The Language Evolves

Joshua Hinson
Joshua Hinson explains how the Language Committee creates new words & how the vocabulary has developed over time through language revitalization.

Joshua Hinson's Goal to Become Fluent

The Chickasaw Nation
Joshua Hinson expresses his goal of becoming a fluent speaker of the Chickasaw language.

Drawn to Our Language

Joshua Hinson
Joshua Hinson describes his fine arts background and explains how he became drawn to art history and native language revitalization.

Sharing Our Language Connects Us

Lisa Billy
Chickasaw speaker Lisa Billy observes that when visitors at the Cultural Center see Chickasaw words around campus it prompts other phrases.

Using the Language to Engage Audiences

Lisa Billy
Teaching a class, Lisa has used her ability to speak Chickasaw to regain students' attention.

A Linguist's Appreciation of the Chickasaw Language

Pamela Munro
Pamela Munro is a linguistics professor at University of California at Los Angeles.

JoAnn Ellis: Teacher of the Chickasaw Language

JoAnn Ellis
JoAnn Ellis remembers learning both Chickasaw and English beginning in her early youth.