The Cherokee Nation will be inducted into the Tulsa City-County Library Hall of Fame next month. The honor is given yearly to one individual or organization demonstrating leadership and exemplary contributions of time, talent and energy toward improving the library and its resources.
The Cherokee Nation was selected as the 2014 inductee based on their partnership with the library to record Cherokee on computer software. The software allows Tulsa City-County Library patrons to sit at a computer and learn to speak, read and write Cherokee. Mango Languages, the company that created the software, will also share the Cherokee language with more than 3,000 other libraries nationwide.
“This recognition is a true honor for the tribe because it comes from such a prestigious institution and validates our mission of language and cultural preservation,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in a news release. “Protecting our unique language and syllabary ensures our heritage remains accessible to our citizens, which is critical to our long-term success as a tribe. A large part of our success in language conservation has been our willingness to embrace new technologies and partnerships that allow us to better preserve our Cherokee history and culture.”
The Cherokee Nation’s Cherokee Language Program department completed two chapters for the Mango Languages software. The chapters include audio recorded by fluent Cherokee speakers and written lessons. The lessons should be available early next year.
“We are excited to have helped bring the Cherokee language project to fruition and look forward to the day, coming soon, when customers in Tulsa and across the United States can begin to learn Cherokee through Mango’s free language-learning app available from their local public library’s website,” said Gary Shaffer, Tulsa City-County Library CEO.
Mango Languages can be accessed online for free with the use of a library card or by paid subscription. An app is also available for download on smartphones so users can hear Cherokee pronunciation at home. The website is MangoLanguages.com.
“What’s most exciting about our partnership with the Tulsa City-County Library and Mango Languages is that ours is the first Native American language to be included in the software,” said Roy Boney Jr., manager of Cherokee language programs. “We hope to expand our materials in the program and provide users with as many resources as possible to develop their language skills.”
Since 2000, the Cherokee Nation has also provided presenters and monetary donations for the library’s American Indian Resource Center.
The hall of fame induction ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Hardesty Regional Library. A dinner and presentation of the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award to Ann Patchett, author of “Bel Canto” and “This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” will precede the event the evening of Dec. 5.
For more information on the event, call the Tulsa City-County Library at 918-459-7323.