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Native Languages of the Americas:
Preserving and promoting American Indian languages

Welcome to Native Languages of the Americas! We are a small non-profit organization dedicated to the survival of Native American languages, particularly through the use of Internet technology. Our website is not beautiful. Probably, it never will be. But this site has inner beauty, for it is, or will be, a compendium of online materials about more than 800 indigenous languages of the Western Hemisphere and the people that speak them.

Native Languages of the Americas Online Resources

Alphabetical master list of Native American languages, with links to specific information about each language and its native speakers.
Linguistic family groupings showing the relationships between Amerindian languages.
Vocabulary lists in various American Indian languages.
Native American language learning worksheets including picture dictionaries, parts of the body, and pronunciation guides.
List of Native American cultures featured on our site.
Geographical index of Native American tribes grouped by continent, country, and state or province.
Maps of Native American culture areas of the Western Hemisphere.
Kids Menu of Native American information presented for younger readers.
List of Native American books and other resources by and about American Indians.
Online collection of Native American myths and legends from several tribes.
Links to general American Indian language resources available online.


NOTE: Some of the links we provide are more useful than others. We are not responsible for the content of any of the external sites we link to. We have tried to provide the most complete directory of Native American Indian language materials available. If a link is dead, or you have one to add, or if there is a mistake on our site you would like to correct, information you would like us to add, or admiration you wish to express, here is our contact page, also with answers to frequently asked questions. If you are looking for Orrin's homepage, we moved it from here to give more prominence to the Native American language pages.

Why aren't there any links about how American Indian languages are descended from Ancient Egyptian? See our new page explaining the truth behind some of the incorrect "theories" floating around the web about Native American languages, cultures, and history.

Feel free to link to this site or to any of the pages in it. Also, you have our permission to cite this information or pass it on to others in any way that would be useful. Our goal is to make it easier to learn about, preserve, and revive Native American languages by using the Internet. This is a public service on our part. All the information about American Indians and American Indian languages was written by Orrin Lewis, Laura Redish, or our friend Nancy Sherman, who has kindly agreed to let us use them. We make every possible effort to honor any request from Indian tribes and nations regarding the information we have provided about them, and we will listen carefully to requests from other people as well.

Thank you for your interest in Native American languages.

Laura Redish, Director
Orrin Lewis, Tribal Coordinator

Native American Language Families

Actually, Native American languages do not belong to a single Amerindian family, but 25-30 small ones; they are usually discussed together because of the small numbers of natives speaking most of these languages and how little is known about many of them. There are around 25 million native speakers of the more than 800 surviving Amerind languages. The vast majority of these speakers live in Central and South America, where language use is vigorous. In Canada and the United States, only about half a million native speakers of an Amerind tongue remain.

Click on a language family to see a linguistic tree of that family and links about the group. Click on a language name to see a description and links about that language, as well as information about the American Indian people who speak it.

Algonquian Languages (Algic, Algonkian)
Abenaki-Penobscot, Algonquin, Arapaho, Attikamekw (Tête-de-Boule), Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Cree, Etchemin, Gros Ventre-Atsina, Kickapoo, Lenape Delaware, Loup A/B, Lumbee (Croatan, Pamlico), Mahican (Mohican), Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, Menomini, Mesquakie-Sauk (Sac and Fox), Miami-Illinois, Michif (Métis), Mi'kmaq (Micmac), Mohegan-Pequot), Montagnais Innu, Munsee Delaware, Nanticoke, Narragansett, Naskapi Innu, Ojibwe (Chippewa, Ottawa), Potawatomi, Powhatan, Shawnee, Wampanoag, Wiyot, Yurok; possibly Beothuk (Red Indian)

Arawakan Languages
Amuesha, Arawak, Ashaninka, Garifuna, Taino, Timucua

Athabaskan Languages (Na-Dene)
Ahtna, Apache, Beaver, Carrier, Chilcotin, Chipewyan, Gwichin, Haida, Hupa, Kaska, Navajo, Slavey, Tlingit

Caddoan Languages
Arikara, Caddo, Pawnee

Cariban Languages
Carib, Macushi

Chibchan Languages
Arhuaco (Ika), Bribri, Cofan, Chibcha, Cuna (Kuna)

Eskimo-Aleut Languages
Aleut, Alutiiq, Inuktitut

Gulf Languages
Atakapa, Chitimacha, Natchez

Hokan Languages
Chimariko, Chumash, Havasupai, Karuk, Kashaya, Mohave, Pomo, Yuma-Quechan

Iroquoian Languages
Cayuga, Cherokee (Tsalagi), Huron-Wyandot, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Susquehannock, Tuscarora

Kiowa-Tanoan Languages
Kiowa, Tewa, Tiwa, Towa

Macro-Ge Languages
Apinaye, Bororo, Xavante

Mayan Languages
Ch'ol, Itza, Yucatec Maya

Muskogean Languages
Alabama, Apalachee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Coushatta, Miccosukee, Muscogee

Oto-Manguean Languages
Amuzgo, Zapotec

Panoan
Capanahua, Mayoruna

Penutian Languages
Alsea, Cathlamet, Chinook, Chinook Jargon, Coos, Klamath, Maidu, Miwok, Nez Perce, Nisgaa, Ohlone, Tsimshian, Wintu, Yakama, Yokuts

Salishan Languages
Bella Coola, Chehalis, Coeur d'Alene, Cowichan, Cowlitz, Flathead Salish, Lillooet, Quinault, Saanich, Skagit-Snohomish, Squamish

Siouan Languages
Assiniboine, Biloxi, Catawba, Crow, Dakota-Lakota, Hidatsa, Hochunk, Kansa, Mandan, Omaha-Ponca, Osage, Otoe, Quapaw

Tucanoan Languages
Orejon

Tupian Languages
Guarani

Uto-Aztecan Languages
Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Cocopah, Comanche, Diegueno, Gabrielino-Tongva, Hopi, Huichol, Juaneno, Luiseno, Nahuatl (Aztec), Paiute, Papago-Pima, Shoshone, Tarahumara, Ute, Yaqui

Wakashan Languages
Bella Bella, Haisla, Kwakiutl, Makah, Nootka

Other North American Indian Languages
Cayuse, Keres, Kootenay, Tonkawa, Yuchi, Zuni

Other Central American Indian Languages
Mixe-Zoque, Misumalpan, Totonacan

Other South American Indian Languages
Alacalufan, Arawan, Arutani-Sape, Aymara, Barbacoan, Cahuapanan, Chapacuran, Chocoan, Chon, Guaicuruan, Guahiboan, Harakmbet, Katukinan, Jivaroan, Lule-Vilelan, Makú, Mascoian, Matacoan, Mura, Nambiquaran, Quechua, Saliban, Uru-Chipayan, Witotoan, Yaguan, Yanomam, Zamucoan, Zaparoan

Recommended Books about Native American Languages

The Languages of Native North America: * The Amazonian Languages:
    The Languages of the Andes: * The Mesoamerican Indian Languages:
     Comprehensive Native American linguistic references from the Cambridge Language Surveys.
American Indian Languages: Cultural and Social Contexts:
     A good introduction to the diversity of indigenous languages of North, Central, and South America.
O Brave New Words!:
     Interesting book about English loanwords that come from Native American languages.
Native American Placenames of the United States:
     Well-researched encyclopedia of American place names and their Indian language etymologies.
Native American Language Ideologies: Beliefs, Practices, and Struggles in Indian Country:
     Collection of essays on Native American language communities, sociolinguistics, and tribal language preservation today.
Telling Stories in the Face of Danger: Language Renewal in Native American Communities:
     Book about Native American language revival, storytelling, and cultural tradition.
Syntax and Semantics: Native American Languages:
     Linguistic text surveying the grammar of Amerindian languages.
Born in the Blood: On Native American Translation:
     Fascinating book about the complications and perils of Native American language translations.
Flutes of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages:
     Excellent collection of materials about Native American language loss, history, and revitalization in California.
Crossing Mountains: Native American Language Education in Public Schools:
     An in-depth look at Native American language preservation and usage in Montana.
Native Languages of the Southeastern United States:
     Survey of Southeast Native American linguistics.
Native American Language Dictionaries:
     A list of dictionaries, grammar texts, and language learning books in individual Native American languages.

Selected Links about Native American Languages

Our site is designed to present information about American Indian languages contextually--language by language and tribe by tribe. These are linguistically diverse languages deserving of individual attention, and it is very difficult to make accurate generalizations about them as a group. However, our site is also unfinished and may be of limited use to people seeking information on a language we have not yet covered. For this reason, we are providing some links to the main pages of sites with information about many different Native American languages. Hopefully if you are looking for a language we have not finished work on yet, these sites can provide a starting point for your search.

Teaching Indigenous Languages: News, papers and columns about Native American language education
Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas: Indian language news, articles, and links
Indigenous Language Institute: Organization working on American Indian language preservation programs
Native American Languages: Article by a Hopi writer on the languages of native North America
Endangered Languages: Revival and Revitalization: Laura's essay on maintaining and reviving Native American languages
Native American Languages: Linguistic overview of the Amerindian language families, with language maps
Ethnologue of Languages: Demographic information on American Indian and other language families
Native American Languages Spoken At Home: US Census information about Native American language use
Native American Languages (USA): Linguistic maps of American Indian language use in the US
First Nations Languages (Canada): Linguistic maps of Native Canadian language use
Indigenous Mexican Languages: Information about the Native American languages of Mexico
Languages of Modern Mexico: Information on Central American Indian languages
Aboriginal Languages of Canada: Site for children about indigenous Canadian languages
Numbers in North American Indian Languages: Glossary of numerals in dozens of Native American languages
Native American Language Programs: Courses of learning for American Indian languages
Indigenous Native Americans: Indexed resources on American Indian languages and cultures
Native American Language Resources: Links on various American Indian languages
Native American Languages: Links on various American Indian languages
Inwewinan Native Languages: Links on various American Indian languages
Native Languages Page: Links on various American Indian languages
Native American Language Resources: Links on various American Indian languages
Native American Association of Germany: Links on various American Indian languages
Native American Language Families: Links on various American Indian languages
Cheyenne Language Web Site Links: Links on various American Indian languages
Native American Languages: Links on various American Indian languages
Native American Language Sites: Links on various American Indian languages
Latin American Languages: Links on the Native American languages of Central and South America
Native American Tribes: Links on various Native American languages and cultures
Online Library: Native American Language and Culture: Papers and articles on Native American languages
House of the Small Langauges: North Americans: Demographics and links about Native American languages

Native American Art Native American Religions Native American Genealogy Native American Names



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