Just last year, the Alutiiq, a group of Native Americans who live on the coasts of Alaska, were in danger of losing their language, the Kodiak dialect of Alutiiq, completely. The dialect is down to about 50 living speakers.
For the past four years, however, the Alutiiq Museum has been working on a project to document and preserve the language. Called Living Words, the project involves talking with and recording the elders who can still speak Alutiiq.
But in addition to documenting the language as it exists today, the Alutiiq are also looking to the future by adding new words. According to the Kodiak Daily Mirror, tribal elders have been holding “New Words Councils” to create words for modern phenomena like text messages and ATVs. Read more