Cherokee Leaders Declare State of Emergency

The three federally recognized tribes of the Cherokee people have declared a State of Emergency for the Cherokee language. Officials from the Cherokee Nation, Keetoowah Band, and the Easter Band met in a Tri-Council meeting at Kituwah on June 27. The Tri-Council to also passed a resolution during their meeting to work together to revitalize the Cherokee. There are approximately 2,000  fluent first language Cherokee speakers left across the three tribes, and each Cherokee tribe is losing fluent speakers at faster rates than new Cherokee speakers are developed.

The resolution states that the Cherokee language is considered endangered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and goes on to state, “…both remaining dialects of the Cherokee language, the Kituwah (Middle) and the Otali (Overhill), are endangered, and the language revitalization programs must be enhanced to prevent the extinction of the Cherokee language.”