Governor Anoatubby designates a “Decade of Chickasaw Language”

The decade spanning 2022-2032 is designated “Chikashshanompa’ Ilanompoli’! (Let’s Speak Chickasaw!): A Decade of Chickasaw Language” thanks to a recent gubernatorial proclamation issued by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.

Governor Anoatubby has long been committed to the preservation of the Chickasaw language through an array of programs and services. His proclamation mirrors a United Nations’ proclamation of 2022-2032 “International Decade of Indigenous Languages,” which invites Indigenous peoples, as guardians of their language, to initiate ideas for preserving this endangered facet of their cultural and social life. The proclamation also draws attention to the need to preserve and promote Indigenous languages worldwide.

Governor Anoatubby’s proclamation emphasizes how the Chickasaw language is an essential connection to the past and the importance of continuing the Chickasaw language for future generations.

“Chikashshanompa’ (the Chickasaw language) is integral to our identity as Chikasha (Chickasaw) people and is the source of ancestral knowledge of our history and culture, and one of our most scarce, precious and valuable resources,” he said.

During a recent tribal update, Governor Anoatubby detailed efforts and opportunities to protect and share the Chickasaw language.

“Woven within our language are the priceless fibers of our cultural identity,” he said. “These ancient Chickasaw words that connect us in body, mind and spirit, are the essential components in the practice and expression of Chickasaw culture.”

“When we speak our native tongue, we reaffirm our unique tribal sovereignty that is so important to us now and to Chickasaw generations to come. With fewer fluent Chickasaw speakers living today, we are more committed than ever to perpetuating and providing access to the Chickasaw language.”

Opportunities and resources developed under Governor Anoatubby’s leadership include several programs and services dedicated to revitalizing the language among Chickasaws of all ages, including: Rosetta Stone Chickasaw, the Chickasaw Language Basics App, Chickasaw Nation Culture and Humanities YouTube Channel, and language clubs.

A new initiative, the Chikasha Academy Adult Immersion Program, in which a small group of Chickasaws are learning the language from fluent speakers, launched this year and underscores the priority of language perpetuation under Governor Anoatubby and his team.

Other opportunities include several partnerships with local schools in the Chickasaw Nation that provide language programs to students. Chickasaw language is also incorporated into many programs and services, including the martial arts program and the AYA fitness app.

In both the proclamation and tribal update, Governor Anoatubby encouraged the Chickasaw people “to make use of the many resources available to learn, preserve and pass on the Chikashshanompa’ to ensure our language will remain a fundamental part of the Chickasaw Nation.”