It’s been quite a while since I researched Native American stuff, but recently I happened to get back into some of that and discovered that the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has elected a new principal chief since last I checked, Bill John Baker (he was elected in 2011, so that shows how long I’ve been out of the loop!). When I looked him up, my first thought was “He doesn’t look very Cherokee!” And come to find out, as far as his ethnic background goes, he is actually 1/32nd Cherokee.
This led me to a little more research on blood quantum requirements in Indian tribes—basically the requirement that a person have a certain percentage of ancestry from that tribe in order to have tribal citizenship. It’s certainly an interesting concept, especially since it really wouldn’t fly in other nations—just think, what if a European country introduced some blood quantum law that says you must be a certain percentage white in order to be a citizen? Cries of “Racism!” would be everywhere.
But Indian tribes are a different ballgame, or so it seems. It happens to be the case, however, that the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma does not have blood quantum requirements—all that is required is that you be able to trace your family tree back to someone on the Dawes Roll, a roster of Cherokees made by the US government in the 19th century. Thus, it doesn’t matter what percentage Cherokee you are; if one of your ancestors was a registered Cherokee, then you can join the tribe. Other tribes have chosen to require a blood quantum to have citizenship—for example, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees (also in Oklahoma) requires 1/4 Cherokee blood in order to be a citizen of their nation.
Although I was passively exposed to Spanish growing up in Texas, the first language I started learning was Greek—koine Greek to be precise. My father had “taken” it in college, and while he didn’t retain much of it even over summer break, he wanted to spark my interest in it at an early age. He taught me the alphabet and a few key words, and he even made a little quiz for me, to test my rudimentary Greek knowledge.
I was proud of my accomplishments, and soon began studying Greek as part of my schoolwork, going through the series of workbooks called Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! (That’s the beauty of homeschooling—your study options are limitless!) The Hey Andrew! books were good, but went along at a dreadfully slow pace. I felt like it would be forever before I got to learn about adjectives! But by the time I went through the whole series, I had a good knowledge of Greek grammar. I think they may have even added another level since I finished.
At university, I wanted to minor in Greek New Testament, but I was afraid that the first basic classes would just be a boring review of things I already knew. So I had a talk with the Bible faculty, and arranged to take a special test to see if I was ready for second-year Greek classes. I brushed up on my Greek skills, and easily passed the test. So it was that I was taking Greek 3 as a freshman! From there I took all the Greek classes that my university offered, and quite enjoyed it. (keep reading)
Music by William Monk (1861)
Poetry by Henry Lyte (1847)
Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens. Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me!
I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless:
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee!
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!
Greetings! I am Mashkioya, and I am a language nut. I am not a linguist (although admittedly, being a linguist would be pretty cool), and I don’t often use the word “polyglot” because it sounds kind of ugly, and not many people know what it means. Plus, I don’t claim to aspire to fluency in 20 languages, or anything like that. I just like to dabble, and happen to have dabbled quite a bit in this particular area. Thus, I am a language nut.
You may have heard this proverb among Latin students:
Latin is a language,
Dead as it can be.
First it killed the Romans,
And now it’s killing me!
I understand the sentiment, but instead of thinking of the languages I learn and speak as enemies out to kill me, I like to think of them as friends. Some of them I’ve been acquainted with my entire life, while others are budding relationships that I’m just beginning to explore. And each one is beautiful and unique in its own way. This post will begin a series in which I will introduce you to my language friends, one by one, and hopefully motivate you to get to know them as well, or at least to begin widening your linguistic circle in other directions. (keep reading)