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chapter 1 The Native Languages of Wisconsin ka ren wa shinawatok and monica macaul ay 15 In this chapter we introduce the native languages of Wisconsin. All of those still spoken in the state are seriously endangered, yet there are strong programs in place to preserve and revitalize each one. Figure 1.1 shows the native population of Wisconsin as of 2010. Figure 1.2 shows the federally recognized tribes of Wisconsin, and as it makes clear, the state had and still has quite a diversity of native languages . Three language families are represented in the state: Algonquian , Iroquoian, and Siouan. Ojibwe, an Algonquian language, is (or was) spoken by the Red Cliff, St. Croix, Bad River, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, and Sokaogan bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa .1 The Potawatomi and the Menominee speak languages related to but distinct from Ojibwe. The Stockbridge-Munsee represent a group that came together as they were forced westward and that includes the Mohekans (also known as Mohegans), the Munsee Delaware , and the Lenape. They no longer speak their native language(s).2 All of these—Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Menominee, and the original languages of the Stockbridge-Munsee—belong to the Algonquian family of languages. The Oneida language is Iroquoian (related to languages like Mohawk and Cherokee), and the Ho-Chunk language is Siouan (related to Lakota, Dakota, and Assiniboine, for example).3 At least two other tribes were in Wisconsin historically, the Miami and the Mesquakie (also known as the Fox). Both speak Algonquian languages, but they were both displaced from their Wisconsin homes and so no longer have a presence here. Even today, then, Wisconsin’s native languages are a diverse set: three Algonquian, one Iroquoian, and one Siouan. The tribes and their languages (and language families) are summarized in table 1.1. Again, all of these languages are either extinct or very endangered. The Algonquian languages of the state have somewhere from zero to maybe twenty-five fluent native speakers each, all elderly. Oneida probably has a few hundred, and Ho-Chunk likewise has a few hundred. 16 washinawatok and macaulay L a k e M i c h i g a n M i s s i s s i p p i R. 19 – 299 300 – 999 1,000 – 1,999 > 2,000 Total: 54,526 1,000 – 1,999 300 – 999 . R R R i M i R p p i p p p i i p s s i s s i i s M M i 300 – 999 19 – 299 n a g i h c i M e k a L otal: 54,52 T To > 2,000 otal: 54,526 Figure 1.1. Native American population in 2010, by county (Data from 2010 U.S. census, table DP-1, “Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics”) Why Don’t We Know Exactly How Many Speakers There Are? Speaker counts can be done by a community or tribal nation, by linguists , or by the U.S. Census Bureau. Everyone agrees, however, that it is surprisingly hard to do accurate speaker surveys. The main problem is that not everybody defines the word speaker the same way. Do we mean someone who spoke the language as a first language? Would that include someone who spoke it as a child but hasn’t spoken it since The Native Languages of Wisconsin 17 St.Croix R. B l a c k R . Wisconsin R. W i s c o n s i n R . Fox R . Rock R . W o l f R . FoxR. C h i p p e w a R . M i s s i s s i ppi R. Lake Winnebago L a k e M i c h i g a n Menominee Stockbridge-Munsee Oneida Lac du Flambeau Red Cliff Bad River Lac Courte Oreilles Sokaogon Potawatomi St. Croix Ho-Chunk Forest County C Bad River d C ed C Red C Bad River f lif ff . R R R . a a R w w a e e w p p e p p p h i h i i p h p h i p C C h . R x i ix o r ro C . t S St St. Croix Oreilles Lac Courte . c ock R f l l f o o l W . R n n R i i n s s i n n s o o n c c o s s c i i...


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