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All the Agents and SaintsDispatches from the U.S. Borderlands$
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Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631592

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631592.001.0001

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The Mother Tongue

The Mother Tongue

Chapter:
(p.220) 17 The Mother Tongue
Source:
All the Agents and Saints
Author(s):

Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631592.003.0018

What does it mean to be Mohawk today—especially given that so many traditions (hunting, fishing, fur trapping, basketry) have been compromised by outside influences (polluting industries, the drug trade, human trafficking, the Internet)? Of Akwesasne’s 12,000 residents, only a thousand still speak their native language fluently. Most of them are elderly. This chapter investigates Mohawk efforts to revitalize their native language, including an immersive K-8 school called the Akwesasne Freedom School. The author also reflects upon the loss of her own mother tongue back in the South Texas public education system, where Tejano children were punished for their Mexican accents.

Keywords:   St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Akwesasne Freedom School, native languages, Indian residential school, U.S. Canada border, Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Native identity, Tejano, mother tongue, longhouse

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