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Native Languages of the Americas:
Gros Ventre (Ahe, Ahahnelin, Aane, Atsina)

Language: Gros Ventre--Ahe or A'ananin to its own speakers--is an Algonkian language spoken today by only a handful of elders in Montana. Most linguists consider Gros Ventre a dialect of Arapaho, though the two tribes have distinct political and cultural identities. Gros Ventre had the unusual trait of being pronounced differently by male and female speakers--women used the sound "k" where men used "ty" or "ch." (Both genders, of course, could easily understand each other.) Gender dialects have not been preserved among the young Gros Ventre learning to speak their language again, so even if the language is successfully revived, it seems unlikely this feature will survive outside of a linguistics book.

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People: Gros Ventre was the French name for these Plains Indians (supposedly because of their hearty appetites), and Atsina the name their kinsmen the Arapaho bestowed on them, but they call themselves A'aninin, the White Clay People. They share a reservation in Montana with their allies the Assiniboine. The Gros Ventre people are occasionally confused with the completely unrelated Hidatsa, whom the French also called Gros Ventre (apparently because the symbols for the two tribes in Plains Indian Sign Language are quite similar). There are about 3000 Gros Ventre Indians today.

History: The Gros Ventre tribe began as a splinter group of Arapaho Indians who left their kinsmen to journey north. Their poor choice of the powerful Blackfoot Nation as enemies left their ranks weakened and depleted by war just as the western smallpox epidemic struck, a calamity their population still has not recovered from. The Gros Ventre and their Assiniboine allies did avoid removal to Oklahoma, accepting instead the reservation in Montana where they live to this day; however, the government continues to mine for gold on Gros Ventre tribal lands over their objections due to the exploitative treaty with the Americans they signed at gunpoint in the 19th century.

Gros Ventre Language Resources
Gros Ventre language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Gros Ventre Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Gros Ventre Indians past and present.

Gros Ventre Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Gros Ventres, their language and culture.

Gros Ventre Legends
Introduction to Gros Ventre Indian mythology.

Gros Ventre Language Resources

Our Online Gros Ventre Language Materials

Gros Ventre Vocabulary:
    List of vocabulary words in the Gros Ventre language, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Gros Ventre Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Gros Ventre words.
Gros Ventre Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in Gros Ventre.
Gros Ventre Colors:
    Worksheet showing color words in the Gros Ventre language.
Gros Ventre Animate Nouns:
    Lesson on Gros Ventre animate and inanimate nouns.

Gros Ventre Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Aaniiih and Nakoda Speeches:
    Interesting book about Gros Ventre and Assiniboine oratory and ceremonial language.
American Indian Language Dictionaries:
    Crow and other Native American dictionaries and language materials for sale.

Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

Fort Belknap Gros Ventre Greetings:
    Audio greetings in male and female Nakota and Gros Ventre.
Aaniiih Nakoda College Language Resources:
    Gros Ventre dictionary, grammar and language learning materials from the tribal college.
White Clay People:
    Bilingual coloring book in Gros Ventre and English, aimed at children.
Language Museum: Gros Venture:
    Gros Ventre language samples.
Gros Ventre Language Page:
    Gros Ventre word lists and a Gros Ventre version of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Gros Ventre Word Sets:
    Audio clips of Gros Ventre words.
*Plains Indian Vocabularies:
    Early 20th-century wordlists of Mandan, Arikara and Atsina.

Gros Ventre Language Preservation and Usage

GrosVentre Documentation Project:
    Developing a dictionary of the Gros Ventre language.
Ethnologue: Gros Ventre:
    Demographic information about the Atsina Indian language.
Gros Ventre Language Tree:
    Theories about Gros Ventre's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.

Arapaho and Gros Ventre Proper Names

Arapaho Place Names:
    A linguistic study of Arapaho placenames in Colorado.
Native American Dog Names:
    Our new fundraiser offering names for dogs and other animals in American Indian languages (including Gros Ventre).

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

  Wikipedia: Gros Ventre:
  Encyclopedia articles on the Gros Ventre language.
  La Lengua Grosventre:
  Article on the Gros Ventre language in Spanish. With a language map.
  Gros Ventre Language:
  Gros Ventre links.
  Gros Ventre Tribe:
  Gros Ventre Indian books.

Learn more about the Gros Ventre/Atsina Indians
Go back to the list of North American Indian tribes
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