The Cherokee language is deeply tied to Cherokee identity; yet generations of assimilation efforts by the U.S. government and anti-Indigenous stigmas have forced the Tri-Council of Cherokee tribes to declare a State of Emergency for the language in 2019. While there are 430,000 Cherokee citizens in the three federally recognized tribes, fewer than an estimated 2,000 fluent speakers remain—the majority of whom are elderly. The covid pandemic has unfortunately hastened the course. Language activists, artists, and the youth must now lead the charge of urgent radical revitalization efforts to help save the language from the brink of extinction.
This screening is a co-presentation organized by UNCW Office of the Arts, WHQR Public Radio, Cucalorus, and Working Films.This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources through the Spark the Arts program.