The Crow Language Consortium (CLC) is well on its way to becoming a prominent figure in the Native language revitalization movement — testimony to a small of Native educators and linguists who recognized the deteriorating health of Apsáalooke, the native language of the Crow Tribe, and decided to do something about it.
Only five years earlier, in 2012, UNESCO (The United Nation’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) had classified Apsáalooke as “definitely endangered,” the result of years of governmental policy that sought to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society through forceful cultural and linguistic oppression.
Determined to not let the language wither into extinction, CLC was founded in 2014 to help the Crow Nation to realize their goals of language revitalization. The Crow Tribe then enacted an official resolution to establish a tribal policy on preservation and maintenance of the Crow Language and Culture.
Thanks to the support from the Crow Nation, and in collaboration with The Language Conservancy, CLC has been able to provide essential teaching materials and trainings vital to keeping their language alive, including:
• Crow Vocab Builder, a smart phone app enabling learners to enhance their Crow vocabulary by quizzing learners on a variety of words sets, from food to animals and everything in between. As the learner masters each category, they unlock new vocabulary sets to learn.
• Speak Crow!Textbook Series: Textbook series for Apsáalooke, based on extensive work with Native Crow speakers and linguists. Levels 1 and 2 are available at the Bookstore, and CLC is in process of developing Level 3.
• Crow Dictionary: As part of a larger strategic plan to to preserve and revitalize the Apsáalooke language, the Crow Dictionary will expand extant Crow dictionaries to approximately 15,000 words and 800 pages, offering speakers a user-friendly way to access the language in both the Crow-English and English-Crow sections.
• Crow Summer Institute at Little Big Horn College, an intensive three week Institute with crash courses on Crow linguistics, pedagogical methods and cultural activities, designed to train prospective teachers of Apsáalooke to instruct native Crow children on the reservation. In 2017, more than 40 educators participated in the 5th annual Crow Summer Institute.
This year CLC has achieved the important milestone of obtaining 501(c)3 non-profit status with the IRS, opening a floodgate to new funding opportunities. In addition, the Crow Nation’s tribal college, Little Big Horn College, has received a grant from the Administration of Native Americans to open the first-ever Apsáalooke language immersion school, named the Chickadee Lodge. TLC will be working closely with them, having experience with developing immersion schools in the Lakota language.