The Norman Transcript


April 9, 2014

Native American languages aren’t forgotten



In coordination with that exhibit, the language fair included the special artwork category, Language in Skateboard Art. Students designed their own skateboard decks that incorporated Native language.

Over the years, the language fair has added more categories as linguistic domains expand and style of presentations and conversation has changed.

“In the beginning, speeches were formal and rigidly recited,” Linn said. “Now students are doing skits and the language is more conversational.”

The winners of the ninth through 12th large group spoken language category from Broken Bow High School embraced a more relaxed, modern skit theme to demonstrate their language.

Alyssa Baker, A’ An Parra, Nikki Amos, Dallas Bohannan, Justin Byington, Brian Gentry and Darrell Batiest acted as Thunder basketball game fans and the mascot Rumble in their performance “Ready to Rumble.”

“They used greetings, discussed food and the basketball players to demonstrate the language,” said Dennis Parra, Broken Bow High School teacher. “And at the end of the skit, Rumble is asked if he wants to play basketball, but he says ‘no’ and pulls out to stickball sticks and says he wants to play stickball. This incorporates traditional culture into our modern skit.”

Parra and his wife, Faith Parra, teach students both Choctaw 1 and 2. Parra said the students started practicing before spring break.

“This day gives them experience with the language and they get to meet other kids across the state who also use native languages.”

Batiest, who portrayed Rumble, said it was the team’s third year in a row to win their category.

“We grew up knowing bits and pieces, but none of use were fluent in Choctaw,” Batiest said. “We practiced at least three times a week.”

Sponsors of the language fair included the Sam Noble museum, The Cyril Fund, Boeing, Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Sac and Fox Nation, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, OU Student Life, OU Department of Anthropology, OU Department of Native American Studies, Gamma Delta Pi American Indian Sorority and University Silkscreen.

For more information, visit


Katherine Parker



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