Stockbridge-Munsee tribe revives Mohican language

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - With eleven federally recognized tribes within its borders, Wisconsin boasts a very strong Native American background. Now some tribal members for the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe are looking to return to their roots through language.

“All of the tribes in Wisconsin understand the fact that we are in trouble with our languages and we want to keep them alive," said Language Project Manager Larry Madden.

The Stockbridge-Munsee tribes speaks a Mohican dialect, but there has not been a fluent speaker since the 1930’s. But the Munsee-Mohican people of Bowler are looking to change that.

“We have no first language speakers anymore. But we are going to change that, there will be more," added Stockbridge-Munsee therapist Maaliish Miller.

Once a week people from the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe do an interactive study of basic Mohican words make strides to return to their roots.

"The language is coming back. We are waking it up, it was never lost," Miller explained.

The tribe has opened the classes to all age groups.

"Even the little ones are in the game so that makes me feel hopeful," Madden added.

The group knows that it will be an uphill battle going forward, but they have high hopes for the program.

"We're hoping to just keep this alive and keep it moving forward. Like some of the languages in Europe, maybe 68% of our kids will be speaking it again,” Madden said.