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Euchee Language Project Hosts Summer Fun

At the Euchee Language Project, a partner of Cultural Survival's Endangered Languages Program, second language learners and fluent elder speakers in Sapulpa, Oklahoma are already preparing to resume their fall afterschool programming, after a busy summer of field trips, a well-attended Euchee Knowledge Bowl competition, and daily activities at the Yuchi House, sponsored in part by the Endangered Languages Program.

Nearly 60 youth participated in the summer youth programming, held June through August, and 100 community members from the Euchee Tribe, Muskogee Creek Nation, and greater Sapulpa community attended the first-ever Euchee Knowledge Bowl competition at Sapulpa High School in early June. Twenty-five Euchee students competed in three age groups for prizes awarded for Euchee language responses given in a timed game show format, complete with buzzers. 

Some questions referenced audio recordings and pictures projected for the audience, while all—asked in the Euchee language—corresponded to content taught throughout the year at the Yuchi House afterschool program. Responses by students were also entirely in the Euchee language. For example, a recording of a wolf’s howl was followed by, “wEg@ yOCHw@(What do you hear?)” Other topics included kinship terms, sports, food, electronics, Euchee religious and ceremonial traditions, and the number system—for example, 3,725 is “Esht’ê@ naK@ Esht’ê lachU KOta naw@^chwahATawE.”

According to teachers Renée Grounds and Yoney Spencer, the competition was modeled after the Creek Nation Challenge Bowl. Euchee Language Project Director Richard A. Grounds, Ph.D., noted the significance of hosting the event on the grounds of the former Euchee Mission Boarding School where his own grandmother had once been punished for speaking her mother tongue. Steven A. Grounds designed the poster, program, and t-shirt artwork incorporating a rendering of Albert Einstein. In addition to Cultural Survival’s Endangered Languages Program, additional event and the Euchee Language Project sponsors include the Muscogee Creek Nation, the Administration for Native Americans, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, local businesses like Target, Mazzio’s Pizza, Hickory House BBQ, Sahoma Lanes, Chili’s, and Andy B’s, and a Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development mini-grant administered by Cultural Survival.