Wes Studi—the Cherokee actor and activist most famous for his roles in Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves and Avatar—recently sat down with Maria Hinojosa, who jumps right into the interview asking if Native American youth are being taught indigenous languages and if it’s a struggle to keep indigenous languages alive.
“It’s a struggle, but the tip of the improvement is beginning to show,” Studi answers. He talks about how youth are learning Cherokee in school, but can’t speak it at home because many of their parents are unable to speak it. On the other hand, this is encouraging parents to enroll in language classes.
Studi is a spokesman for the Indigenous Language Institute and has written two children’s book promoting the Cherokee language.