This year, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History’s annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair will be hosted virtually, similar to last year’s fair.

“We are very excited to be able to offer a safe way for our Native language students, teachers and speakers to celebrate language this year,” said Raina Heaton, assistant curator of Native American languages and assistant professor of Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma. “Although we will miss seeing everyone in person, we want to support all the language work people have continued to do despite the pandemic.”

The fair celebrates language diversity and recognizes the efforts of students and teachers to revitalize Native American language and heritage.

All submissions and winners will be displayed virtually through the Sam Noble Museum’s YouTube channel starting April 4. This year’s entries will be available at bit.ly/3xeS0me.

“ONAYLF has always aimed to promote the value of language diversity in Oklahoma,” said Dan Swan, ethnology curator emeritus. “The museum and its curatorial staff have been instrumental in working with tribal communities and the Oklahoma State Education Department to develop standards and a credentialing process for Native language teachers in Oklahoma public schools.”

ONAYLF began in April 2003 at the museum. Elder and teacher Geneva Navarro (Comanche), Indian educator Quinton Roman Nose (Cheyenne) and the museum’s first Native American languages curator, Mary Linn, sought to recognize the Native language teachers and students in Oklahoma.

The fair has encouraged and supported the efforts of Native communities in Oklahoma and the surrounding region to document, revitalize and perpetuate their ancestral languages.

While many of the fair’s original goals are the same, they have grown as the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair has grown.

The fair was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities via the American Rescue Plan.

Additional sponsors for the fair include the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, the, OU Native Nations Center, and the OU Department of Native American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Thank you for your support.

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is located on the OU Norman campus at J. Willis Stovall Road and Chautauqua Avenue.

For accommodations, call 325-7977 or visit SamNobleMuseum.ou.edu.

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