How Determination And Technology Are Fostering The Chickasaw Language's Rebirth11:08
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Chickasaw tribal elders Jerry Imotichey (left) and Hannah Pitmon (right) stand with Joshua Hinson (middle), director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, in front of "The Arrival" statue at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
Chickasaw tribal elders Jerry Imotichey (left) and Hannah Pitmon (right) stand with Joshua Hinson (middle), director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, in front of "The Arrival" statue at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
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With only 30 or so remaining native Chickasaw speakers — those who learned Chickasaw as a first language — the language has been considered critically endangered. That didn't sit well with Joshua Hinson when his son was born in 2000.

Realizing that his son would be the sixth generation of Chickasaw children to grow up speaking English, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

His efforts — including the development of a Chickasaw language app and website, the creation an online television network with language, and oral histories and the enlistment of Chickasaw elders to lend their voices — have created a whole new generation of Chickasaw second-language speakers.

Hinson is now the director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, which was also instrumental in the creation of the 109-acre Chickasaw Cultural Center, where every sign and exhibit is bilingual. Here & Now's Robin Young joined Hinson and tribal elders Hannah Pitmon and Jerry Imotichey at the center to discuss the rebirth of the Chickasaw language.

Here are more photos from our trip to the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma:

A bilingual sign in the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
A bilingual sign in the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
The interior of the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. Okla. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
The interior of the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. Okla. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
A canoe exhibit inside the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. Okla. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
A canoe exhibit inside the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur. Okla. (Robin Young/Here & Now)
Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Joshua Hinson, director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. Below is the center's Chikasha Inchokka' Traditional Village. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Joshua Hinson, director of the Department of Chickasaw Language, at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. Below is the center's Chikasha Inchokka' Traditional Village. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
A view overlooking the Chikasha Inchokka' Traditional Village at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
A view overlooking the Chikasha Inchokka' Traditional Village at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
"The Arrival" statue at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
"The Arrival" statue at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
A view of the Kochcha' Aabiniili' ("a place for sitting outside") Amphitheater at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)
A view of the Kochcha' Aabiniili' ("a place for sitting outside") Amphitheater at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. (Karyn Miller-Medzon/Here & Now)

Guests

Hannah Pitmon and Jerry Imotichey, Chickasaw tribal elders. The Chickasaw nation tweets @ChickasawNation. The Chickasaw Cultural Center tweets @ChickasawCCC.

Joshua Hinson, director of the Chickasaw Nation's Department of Language. He tweets @lokosh_saya. Chickasaw Language tweets @Chikashshanompa.

This segment aired on October 6, 2016.

Robin Young Twitter Co-Host, Here & Now
Robin Young brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as host of Here & Now.

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Karyn Miller-Medzon Twitter Senior Associate Producer, Here & Now
Karyn Miller-Medzon is a senior associate producer for Here & Now.

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