Anthropology Summer Programs

Rescheduled due to COVID-19 for Summer 2022

LING 3000

Language Revitalization: The Case of Tunica, Louisiana's Sleeping Language

Hosted By: The Tunica Tribe in Marksville, LA

Tunica-Biloxi Tribal logo
Emblem of the Tunica-Biloxi tribe
Sesostrie Youchigant also known as Sam Young
Sesostrie Youchigant, last speaker of the language

Do you want to help turn the tide of language and culture loss for a Louisiana group of Native Americans?

Are you willing to work long days for two weeks to do so?

This course will give you a theoretic framework for understanding language loss, language revitalization, second language teaching methods and the Tunica language. In week two, you will have the opportunity to help Tunica adults reawaken their language, teaching and playing with Tunica children, ages 3-13, at the Tunica Language Summer Camp in Marksville, Louisiana, service learning that can make a difference in the lives of these children and the future of this tribe. This course fulfills the second tier Service Learning Requirement.

A language dies every two weeks. With it die worlds of cognition, unique patterns of talking and thinking. Most of the languages dying today are being replaced by a language whose speakers control economic and political power. The Tunica, a Native American group, once controlled commerce and the salt trade for the Gulf South. Now amalgamated with the Biloxi, their tribal headquarters and reservation are in Marksville Louisiana. Since 2009, Tulane has been collaborating with the Tunica to bring back their language, the last speaker, Sesostrie Youchigant having died over fifty years ago. This course addresses the processes of language death, as well as methods and initiatives for language revitalization. Students will learn effective second language teaching methods and elementary Tunica. You will then apply what you have learned, serving as teaching assistants during the tribe's Language Summer Camp. The Tunica tribe will host the course in Marksville for the week of the Summer Camp, June 8-12. Tulane participants will stay in the Paragon Casino hotel and will be given meal vouchers to eat at any of the casino restaurants. The Tribal Council eagerly anticipates this cooperation with Tulane in engaging youth with Tunica language and culture.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Judith Maxwell or visit the Tunica: Revitalizing Louisiana’s Sleeping Language webpage.