The Lumbee are a Native American tribe living in North Carolina. The Lumbee speak English with a distinctive dialect. About 40,000 Lumbee live near the town of Pembroke.
North Carolina formally recognized the tribe in 1885, but the United States government never has. The original Lumbee language is lost. Their dialect is not recognized as a traditional Native American language.
Little is known about the original language or when it was lost. Three groups of Native American languages were present in what is now Robeson County, North Carolina. Many believe the Lumbee's language combined with the English of the first British colonialist to create Lumbee English.
Lumbee English has its own vocabulary with many words being unique to the language. Several Lumbee members were discouraged from using their language at school.
Pronunciation is mostly similar to English dialects in the south, with a few distinctive vowel sounds. The grammar is also distinctive.
Lumbee English is important to the sense of community. The language has continued despite outside efforts to erase it.
Credits: Indian by Birth
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Examining the idea of native identity, this program looks at the Lumbee Tribe, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River and the ninth largest in the nation. Stripped of their language generations ago, the Lumbee Indians of today find expression for their cultural identity in a unique dialect of English.
Length: 29 minutes
Copyright date: ©2013
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