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Reviving the Dormant Tutelo Language As A Community


Tutelo is also known as Tutelo-Saponi. The last fluent speaker, Nikonha, died in 1871 but he thankfully shared many Tutelo words with an ethnologist named Horatio Hale who recorded them down...

But thankfully it doesn’t end there.

In 1753 the Tutelo had joined the Iroquois confederacy under the sponsorship of the Cayuga. Descendants living at Grand River spoke Tutelo well into the twentieth century, when it was recorded by Hale and other scholars including J. N. B. Hewitt, James Owen Dorsey, Leo J. Frachtenberg, Edward Sapir, Frank Speck, and Marianne Mithun. The last active speakers, a mother and daughter, died in a house fire shortly before Mithun's visit in 1982. The last native speaker, Albert Green, died some time after that.

I’m very excited about us as a community resurrecting this great language of Virginia. And I actually found some good online resources you can read up right now ;) look below.

https://csd.clld.org/languages/tu (shows a few pages of Tutelo words)

https://archive.org/details/jstor-982359/mode/2up (Horatio Hale’s PDF about the Tutelo tribe and language)

https://archive.org/details/ERIC_ED351858/mode/2up (nouns in tutelo)

https://archive.org/details/jstor-659671/mode/2up (quick Tutelo vocabulary guide)

https://archive.org/details/jstor-659763/mode/2up (another quick Tutelo vocab pamphlet made in 1913 by Frachtenburg, Leo J.

Have a peaceful and great 2020!

March 19, 2020


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