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On August 4 and 5, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (MCI) will present The Way We Speak with the World, a film and concert event celebrating the Cherokee language.
The community-centered event is open to the public and free of charge; free tickets can be secured via Eventbrite.
Chief Joyce Dugan Cultural Arts Center
86 Elk Crossing Lane
Cherokee, NC 28719
Contact: Anna Chandler, Manager of External Affairs & Communications
The event kicks off on Friday, August 4 with a screening of “ᏓᏗᏬᏂᏏ (Dadiwonisi / We Will Speak),” a feature-length documentary collaboration chronicling the efforts of Cherokee activists, artists, and educators fighting to save the Cherokee language. A Q&A with members of the film’s production team will follow the screening.
On Saturday, August 5, attendees will be treated to a Cherokee language concert featuring Cherokee Nation musicians who contributed to the groundbreaking 2022 compilation album Anvdvnelisgi (ᎠᏅᏛᏁᎵᏍᎩ). Artists will perform their original songs, with genres ranging from folk to metal to hip-hop, reggae, and beyond.
The Way We Speak with the World signals the urgency of language preservation and honors the citizens who are working to preserve, perpetuate, learn, and teach Tsalagi. Every two weeks around the world, an Indigenous language is lost; Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma counts only 2,000 living fluent speakers among its 380,000 tribal citizens, while North Carolina’s Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) estimates that 152 of its 16,800 enrolled members fluently speak the language. Forced assimilation at Indian boarding schools, where speaking Cherokee was forbidden, is a recent memory. But citizens persisted: elders who held language close have shared their knowledge with their successors, and with the development of adult language programs and immersive language schools for children—like the EBCI’s own New Kituwah Academy—generations are uniting to ensure that Cherokee language thrives.