The Coushatta Indians are attempting to revive their naive language Koasati as the number of Koasati speakers has dramatically declined in recent years being largely replaced by English. In an interview with KPLCtv Bertney Langley, the heritage director of the Coushatta Indians, blamed the decline of Koasati speakers on the Coushatta tribe being small with many members marrying outside the tribe. As spouses from outside the tribe are unlikely to speak Koasati, English becomes the primary language.

Tribe leaders gathered to tackle the crisis five years ago and wrote the language down for the first time, choosing to transcribe¬†Koasati using the English alphabet to facilitate learning. It is understandable why the tribe feel so strongly about retaining their language when later in the interview Langley says that tribe elders used to tell him that if the people lose their language ‘that we should not consider ourselves as Indian people’. The tribe now teach Koasati classes and have even created their own text books. Langley remembers as a child learning English and feeling as if a new world had been opened to him, he expresses hope that the younger generation now learning Koasati for the first time will have a similar feeling and will gain a greater understanding of their heritage.

[via KPLCtv]