Attitudes and opinions on the current Seneca language revitalization efforts.
Gautieri, Gina G.
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Indigenous languages all over the world, including Native American languages, are being lost at a rapid rate (Baker, 2011). This is often the result of years of suppression and assimilation to the dominant White culture. Therefore, there is a need for heritage language revitalization and maintenance to ensure the languages remain. Today, efforts to revitalize these indigenous languages are ongoing, including those for the Seneca language. Very few studies, however, have focused specifically on these efforts with the Seneca language. The goal of this study was to determine the attitudes and opinions of those learning or involved in the current Seneca language revitalization effort and thus add to the literature on language revitalization. The participants of this study included teachers and students from schools in Western New York near the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation where Seneca language classes are offered. An online Likert-scale survey was used to collect data from teachers, while a paper version of the survey was given to student participants in their Seneca language classes. Results indicated that the current Seneca language revitalization efforts are effective, but may need some improvement to fully revitalize the language. In addition, the Seneca language, culture, and traditions are valued in the schools, but not as much as in the communities outside of the schools. This study may serve as a basis for further research in this area.