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Cherokee Translators: essays from the Cherokee Phoenix

February 22, 2012

Yesterday, February 21st, the first Native American newspaper and the first bilingual newspaper in America celebrated its 184th birthday.  It is called:

The paper was started by Galagina [The Buck] Watie, who went by the English name Elias Boudinot.  He was the editor and the main translator, but he also sought assistance from others, including his bilingual English-Cherokee friend Samuel Worcester.  The Cherokee Phoenix was distributed internationally and originally was mostly in English with certain parts in Cherokee.  The purpose of the translated parts was not always obvious to the readers of English only, and the Cherokee articles often served as an insider text for bilingual readers of the Cherokee Nation.

Galagina "The Buck" Oowatie (aka Elias Boudinot)

Today, the paper continues even in an online digital format.  It is still mostly English.  However, the editors of the Cherokee Phoenix retain six translators on staff.  Recently, the translators respectively have written in English to contribute to a series of articles regarding their work.  The purpose of the translation these days seems mostly to invigorate the language and its uses as much as possible.  The linked titles of each can be found below.

Cherokee Nation translation specialists are, from left, Dennis Sixkiller, Anna Sixkiller, David Pettit, Durbin Feeling, John Ross and Phyllis Edwards.

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Preserving the Cherokee language

Jan 31, 2012 – The Cherokee Phoenix is running a six-part series on the Cherokee Nation Translation Specialists.

Cherokee Translators: Translation specialist set on preserving the Cherokee language

Jan 31, 2012 – John Ross enjoys being part of the effort to revitalize the Cherokee language.

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Cherokee translator making up for lost time

Feb 2, 2012 – The Cherokee translation specialist is part of an effort to bridge the generation gap that exists for Cherokee speakers.

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Translator strives to keep Cherokee language relevant

Feb 9, 2012 – Translation specialist David Crawler says a lot of work is still needed to revitalize the Cherokee language.

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Cherokee Bible led Sixkiller down translation path

Feb 7, 2012 – Translation specialist Anna Sixkiller became dedicated to learning the written Cherokee language after reading the Bible.

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Curiosity leads Feeling to Cherokee literacy

Feb 14, 2012 – Translation specialist Durbin Feeling is a self-taught Cherokee reader and writer.

CHEROKEE TRANSLATORS: Sixkiller: Cherokee language key to Cherokee identity

Feb 16, 2012 – Translation specialist Dennis Sixkiller says the language is at a “use it or lose it” point.


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