November 05, 2009

Indian and American sign languages

Native Americans Lecture on Language

By Laura XiaoThe university invited two Native Americans to speak on campus about sign language and how it relates to Native American culture. Steven Burnelle and James WoodenLegs shared their personal stories and history about sign language with the audience. Burnelle is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota, and Montana native WoodenLegs is a member of the Northern Cheyenne reservation in New Mexico.

The guest lecturers communicated in both Plains Indian Sign Language and American Sign language. Two translators were present in the front row. Both lecturers also emphasized the importance of the American Sign Language Program (ASL) and how useful it is in today's world. WoodenLegs spoke about the historical aspect of sign language in Native American culture while Burnelle spoke more about ASL. Through the translator, WoodenLegs expressed how sign language is not the only aspect of Native American culture people should be informed about. He stressed the importance of learning about the history of many different cultures.
Comment:  Intersting, but if you go by this article, there's no actual connection between the two sign languages.

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