Through the efforts of our Comanche Language and Cultural Preservation Committee and the Comanche Nation Language Planning Group, the Comanche Tribal Council approved the creation of a new language department on the budget last year. The department was slated to begin in October 2018 and we are now on the road to the revitalization and reclamation of the Comanche language.
Dr. Kathryn Pewenofkit Briner was hired on January 29, 2019, as Director of Language Planning and Development. Hiring for the other two positions in the department, Language Coordinator and the Information & Communication Specialist, is underway. Dr. Briner is currently completing coursework for a second doctorate that focuses specifically on the Comanche language and revitalization. She has worked with Comanche speakers over the last two years and has been awarded grants for her language work from the American Philosophical Society, the Endangered Language Fund’s Native Voices Endowment, and the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University. Her project NʉmʉTekwa (Speak Comanche!) was recently chosen by the Smithsonian Institution’s Recovering Voices Program as one of two projects they will fund for 2019. Recovering Voices will pay for a seven-person team to go to the National Anthropological Archives for one week in August 2019 to work with Comanche language documents that date back to the early 1800s.
Plans in the near future include community meetings, surveys about language use and attitudes, and the development of a long-term strategic plan that will include the following: the creation of a central language archive, development of resources and language curriculum, children’s book series, the creation of an online dictionary and relational database, and local, online, and school and college classes.
Language workshops are being planned to take place during the Shoshonean-Numic language reunion and Comanche Nation Fair in September. The Comanche language course has launched on the Memrise website and app: https://www.memrise.com/course/1981870/comanche/ and continues to be updated with new levels. For updates and further information about using the Comanche language app, please see our departmental webpage at www.comanchenation.com, our language page at www.talkcomanche.org and our Facebook page for Comanche Nation Language Department (@CNLanguage).
The Comanche Nation Language Department looks forward to continue working with the Comanche Language and Cultural Preservation Committee (CLCPC). The CLCPC will continue in its advisory capacity as a governing body about our language and to certify language teachers. Together, the CLCPC and the CN Language Department will work to revitalize and reclaim the Comanche language.
Nahmaʔai tanʉ nʉmʉniwʉnʉ! Let’s all speak Comanche together!
Our mission is to revitalize and reclaim the Comanche Language and to help our people speak and think in Comanche in our own unique ways.