Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair – ONAYLF

My main job as a volunteer in the Native American Languages collection at the Sam Noble museum is to digitize the collection so that it can be made available to the public. While I scan the documents, I listen to my co-workers discuss the other workings of the collection. For the last few months, I have been hearing them prepare for their biggest event of the year, the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair, or ONAYLF for short. I was excited to attend as much as I could.

The fair, which is held annually at the Sam Noble museum, was the 4th and 5th of April. It is the largest native language fair west of the Mississippi. Students from preschool to high school come and demonstrate how they have been learning and using over forty Native languages. Due to classes, I was only able to attend and volunteer for part of the first day, when the younger children were performing. They sang songs and acted in skits. At the end, I got to watch the winning videos. I also had a brief stint as a judge’s assistant and stage hand.

Through out the two days, over a thousand students performed and over three thousand guests visited the museum. It was a vivid reminder of the diversity of languages spoken in Oklahoma. I look forward to learning more about these languages through out my time here.

Tribes in Oklahoma

By Crimsonedge34 – Own work This image was created with QGIS This vector graphics image was created with Adobe Illustrator., CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18101792

Language Familes of North America

Language Families of North America

CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=147033

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