"Takelma Together" bridges generations
Early learning got a boost among Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe youngsters with the June publication of “Takelma Together,” a children’s book that is helping to preserve cultural tradition.
The book has 17 illustrated pages, each with a Takelma word and its English translation. The back cover provides a phonetic translation for each word in the Takelma language, which is the official language of the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe. Until recent efforts by the tribe to revive the language, Takelma had nearly faded into obscurity. Its last known fluent speaker died in 1934.
“Takelma Together” was the result of a quick decision on the part of Tammie Hunt, education director for the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. Hunt learned in December from Gillian Wesenberg, director of the South-Central Oregon Early Learning Hub, that a Family Support Services grant was available through the Hub, which has been part of Douglas Education Service District since July 2014.
Funds became available in early February. The $18,360 grant paid for the cost of producing the books as well as wages and other costs to employ a tribal connections resource coordinator for early learning. Five tribal elders agreed to lend their talents, each signing their artwork on the finished pages.
Initial printings of “Takelma Together” are available to tribal members on request. They also are being distributed to local elementary schools for checkout. Copies of a second printing can be purchased for $6.99 each at the Cow Creek Government Offices, Suite 100, 2371 N.E. Stephens St., Roseburg. The office accepts only cash or a credit card. Call the tribal office at 541-677-5575 for more information.