As a result of systemic oppression, there are fewer than 200 native Cherokee speakers in North Carolina. To keep the language alive and pass it to the next generation, UNC-Chapel Hill researcher and Eastern Band Cherokeean citizen Benjamin Frey has teamed up with computer scientists Mohit Bansal and Shiyue Zhang to create a new translation model and grow the literary library of works available in Cherokee.
Through community radio and podcasts, Maria Gutierrez strives to preserve her ancestral language and identity — that of an indigenous people from Michoacán, Mexico, called the P’urhépecha.
Since 1984, over 100,000 Karen refugees have fled their homeland of Myanmar to escape civil war. Since then, more than 40,000 have resettled in the U.S., and more than 5,000 live in North Carolina. Such displacement greatly affects lives, and even language — within just three generations their native tongue is barely spoken. Linguistics PhD students Amy Reynolds and Jen Boehm strive to understand this shift and hope to preserve the Karen people’s histories in the process.