Native Village Youth and Education News
February 1, 2009 Issue 194 Volume 2


NSU's Cherokee Education program has 1st graduate

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) - Northeastern State University's Cherokee Education degree program now has its first graduate.

Greg Drowning Bear received his bachelor's degree on Saturday during the university's fall commencement ceremony. The program is a partnership between NSU and the Tahlequah-based Cherokee Nation.

NSU says it is the only public university in the nation to offer a teaching degree in an American Indian language.

Drowning Bear and his wife moved to Tahlequah in 2004 from north Alabama to enroll their children in a tribal Cherokee language immersion school. His wife, Charlene, is pursing her second college degree in the Cherokee Educaton program.

Drowning Bear’s father, grandfather and grandmother were all fluent Cherokee speakers. He wants to keep that tradition Charlene, who graduated from NSU with a bachelor’s degree in general studies in spring  of 2008, is pursuing her second degree in the Cherokee Education program. Their children are also becoming well versed in the Cherokee language thanks to the immersion school, where they are only allowed to speak in Cherokee.

“I want the language to survive for my children, for myself and for my people,” said Drowning Bear. “For the Cherokee language to exist, we all have to do our part to sustain it.”

Greg says that most of the fluent speakers of Cherokee are older than 40 and that for the language to survive, it needs to produce fluent speakers.

Associated Press and


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