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Cherokee Speaker Roll

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 17 Apr 2019 [unknown]
Location: Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, United Statesmap
Profile manager: LaMyra Morton private message [send private message]
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To the Cherokee people preserving the Cherokee language is crucial to maintaining their cultural identity.

Programs for teaching the language are available, but it is a difficult language to learn for those they didn't grow up with it in their home.

In 2019, the Cherokee Speaker Roll project was created to identify and record living people for whom Cherokee was their first language learned in the home and who are capable of speaking the language fluently.

An archival quality book was created. Speakers are invited to voluntarily record their name as an honor to those who skill with the language helps keep the traditions of the tribe alive.

The book has traveled to various Cherokee communities where signatures are collected and their efforts are celebrated and honored. Each signer also receives a medallion to remember their participation in the effort.

A special ceremony was held 17 April 2019, when the first of the signatures were collected. Cherokee linguist, Durbin Feeling had the distinction of being the first person to write his name in the book.

Learn more about the Cherokee language programs offered by the Nation.

Become a member of the First Families of the Cherokee Nation heritage society.

Buy Cherokee Narratives by Durbin Feeling (Author), William Pulte (Author), Gregory Pulte (Author), Bill John Baker (Foreword)

Tribute Videos:
2021, 134 Lost
2020, 123 Lost

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Comments: 5

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LaMyra, there appears to be a category associated with this item:


It has a number of people categorized to it, but they all died in 2020.

Since this seems to be a project that involves living people, why would deceased people be categorized under it?

The Native Americans project is reviewing its category structure, and I'm just trying to understand. Thanks!

posted by Jillaine Smith
I only put them on WT after they die and their names are released by the Cherokee Nation. It is a fairly new project started in 2019 by the Cherokee gov't to honor and pay tribute to the last of a kind that is rapidly dying out. But since everyone gets a profile, I thought this was a good way to make sure an often underrepresented segment of the population appeared in WT. I try to work them back to a Drennen ancestor when I'm able and time allows, but just getting them up there at all has been a lot of work. I need to find someone with a list of the departed from 2019 so I can get caught up .

This was the tribute video they put out after 2020 ended: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=216243613498933. I have been using it to make sure I got everyone. Then Durbin Feeling is probably the best example profile: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Feeling-3. So, yes, he was living when he signed, but it wasn't long until he too was gone. I think this Roll information will become a very important part of the Cherokee record as time goes on. These are the remaining full-bloods that often started life with Cherokee as their first language.

posted by LaMyra Morton
LaMyra, thanks for the clarification AND for your investment of time and passion into this effort. I'll add a note on the category page. And lovely profile for Durbin Feeling.
posted by Jillaine Smith
One more thing. Do you know what this statement on the category page refers to?: "Carolyn Murphy's entry did not contains dates and has been skipped over pending research. Added in early March 2020."
posted by Jillaine Smith
Her name was included in the slide show, but with no further information. I assume the family was wanting to keep things private for the time being and limited what was shared. So I didn't create a profile for her. So maybe later....
posted by LaMyra Morton

Categories: Cherokee Speaker Roll