Friday, October 21, 2011

David Treuer

If these words are lost," he wrote in a 2008 essay for the Los Angeles Times, "much will happen, but also very little will happen. We will be able to go to Starbucks and GameStop and Wal-Mart and the Home Depot as before. We will tie our shoes the same way and brush our teeth and use Crest Whitestrips. Some of us will still do our taxes. Some of us still won't. The mechanics of life as it is lived by modern Ojibwes will remain, for the most part, unchanged. The language we lose, when we lose it, is replaced by other languages. And yet, I think, more will be lost than simply a bouquet of discrete understandings ... I think what I am trying to say is that we will lose beauty — the beauty of the particular, the beauty of the past and the intricacies of a language tailored for our space in the world.

--David Treuer, Ojibwe novelist, on working to record and preserve the Ojibwe language