Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Spanish

First Advisor

Dr. Margarita Pintado

Second Advisor

Dr. K.C. Motl

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara Pemberton

Abstract

The story of the Quapaw, or Downstream People, and their language is an integral part of both the American Indian experience and the larger, universal tapestry of multilingualism. Despite historical setbacks and contemporary challenges, preserving the virtually extinct Quapaw language adds to the diverse cultural narrative of the Americas and shares a nation’s unique story with the rest of humanity. Consulting linguists, historical records, tribal members, and experts on indigenous studies, this project aims to answer questions concerning the state of the Quapaw tongue: how it arrived at virtual extinction, what is being done to preserve it, and the challenges associated with trying to maintain a dying language. Additionally, this project demonstrates the value of the Quapaw language, as the survival of the Downstream People serves as a powerful reminder of the North American heritage and the culturally unifying forces at the heart of the indigenous identity.

 
 

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