A-C-E and 123

This is such a very big deal.
I’m studying and learning Beginning Mvskoke Language which is the first class of the online Mvskoke Language Certificate offered through the College of the Muscogee Nation.

I began learning Mvskoke during the start of the pandemic in May 2020 via a Facebook group Mvskoke Hoktvke Kerretv Yvcvkvt -Mvskoke Women who want to learn. The online classes began at 7:00pm CST. I used to set my alarm clock for 12:45am GMT to attend from Devon, UK. As life returned to semi-normal I was no longer able to get up in the middle of the night. Since Fall 2021, I’ve been joining virtual classes offered through the Mvskoke Language Program of The Muscogee Nation at a friendlier time of 12:00pm CST (6:00pm GMT). These have been great, but I crave the structure of a taught course, so the Mvskoke Language Certificate fits the bill perfectly.

I received a scholarship, an HP Probook, and a hardback edition of the eponymous Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee. This dictionary is the standard reference work for the Creek language. This dictionary has all of the words that my Mvskoke grandmother wasn’t allowed to speak and that my dad was made to feel too ashamed to speak.

My great grandmother and namesake Melinda Phillips never learned to speak English. So I feel that I am constructing a bridge between different generations of my family. Mvskoke is not an easy language to learn and I realize that I’m breaking a two-generation taboo in learning to speak it. I am finding the tongue that was torn out of the mouth of my grandmother and saying the words that my dad never could.

In addition to learning a new language, I am remembering how to be a student on my first academic course in about 30 years. When I used to take spelling tests in school, I’d draw little pictures of the words. I’m finding that this helps me to learn Mvskoke by eliminating the ‘middle man’ of the English word. It also helps that I’m an artist and a very visual person to embed these words in my brain.

The Mvskoke alphabet and pronunciation are different from the English alphabet, so I am beginning right at the basic building blocks of the language.

Nakcokv es keretv enhvteceskv (Muskokee, or Creek first reader) was first published in 1856.
Contributor Names: Robertson, W. S. (William Schenck), 1820-1881. Winslett, David, -1862, joint author.

There were over 500 different languages spoken by the 500+ Indigenous Nations of North America prior to colonization. So many people and their languages are no longer. It is our Native language that makes each Nation unique.
When the Mvskoke were removed from our Homelands in the 1830s, our language was just about the only thing we were able to bring with us. The Mvskoke language has survived the residential schools and the pressure to Anglicize ourselves to fit in with the dominant society. It is a privilege and a responsibility to learn and I am grateful for this opportunity.

Este Mvskokvlke Owis :: I am Mvskoke

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