The Endangered

Though endangered species are relevant topics of pressing importance (and perhaps I shall discuss them in a later post), the endangered that I want to point out today is the Potawatomi language.

If Wikipedia holds accountable truth, there are 9 speakers of the language left, recorded in 2012. Nine. That number holds a sliver of hope, yet it hangs on a precarious edge. There are approximately 335 million English speakers in the world. There are nine elderly people who speak the Potawatomi language. Nine humans who hold centuries of culture in their throats and tongues.

“There is currently an effort underway to revive the language.”

I can’t help wondering if this quote would be nonexistent had certain things not gone down in history. It’s nearly inconceivable. I have no quarrel with the past, as I understand its fixed nature, but there is a certain pressure that it feeds us, both the celebrations and the warnings. Sometimes it seems to be whispering, “Be careful. You are more powerful and more delicate than you know. History is in your hands, but it’s also hovering above, waiting to take hold of the slightest change.” History held in nine individuals, waiting. 


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