From the land of the sleepy ones

I lived in Mâsach8sut for a little while many years ago.

Where, you say? That’s how you say Massachusetts in the Wôpanâak language — the language of the indigenous people of that part of North America. The language had basically died out, but it’s been revived by this Reclamation Project. Why?

“Reclaiming our language is one means of repairing the broken circle of cultural loss and pain. To be able to understand and speak our language means to see the world as our families did for centuries.”

Some might say that it’s a waste of time to learn a language that won’t be useful for you in finding a job. What do you think about that criticism?

There are many place names in the U.S. that have their origins in Native American words. You can find some here (where I found out that Iowa, where I was born, means “the sleepy ones”!) and here. Do you know any Japanese place names that have their origins in the Ainu language?

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