Native American Tribes by Language
Tribes by Language
In the world, approximately 6,000 languages are spoken, and only about 600 languages are expected to survive this century. There are more than 800 indigenous languages in the Western Hemisphere. In the US, 165 native american languages are still spoken.
- Seventy-four native american languages are almost extinct, with only a handful of elderly speakers. Fifty-eight indigenous languages have fewer than 1,000 fluent speakers, twenty-five have 1,000-10,000 speakers, and only 8 native american languages have more than 10,000 speakers.
- Language scholars estimate that before the time of Columbus, over 300 languages were spoken in North America north of Mexico. Since then, that number has dropped to about 175 indigenous languages. One estimate predicts that number will dwindle to less than 20 by the year 2050.
When our children were sent to government boarding schools, they were severely punished for speaking our native languages, and over time many of them were nearly forgotten. Many indigenous languages of the Americas are endangered, and many others are extinct, with no living native speakers.
We believe that languages have a spirit all their own.
It is our vision for the future to once again hear whole generations of native people fluently speaking thier native languages. For as long as one person speaks a language, that language's people and traditions and history will survive and thrive.