Brenda Samuels, Virginia Espinoza and Curtis BillySubmitted Photos

From left, Brenda Samuels, Virginia Espinoza and Curtis Billy.

Supporting the Native Language Fair Honor Fund: Honoring the legacy of three Choctaw language teachers

May 3, 2024

NORMAN, Okla. – To help sustain Native languages across the state and the nation, the Sam Noble Museum and the Department of Native American Studies in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma have launched a new Native Language Fair Honor Fund.

Established to honor past Native speakers, ancestors, and relatives of the past, present, and future who have worked closely with the language fair, the goal is to continue their legacy by creating a sustainable future for the fair. This fund contributes toward an endowment for the event that will generate consistent and stable funding, enabling the museum to provide students with a venue to share their Native languages and support broader language revitalization across Oklahoma.

At least 14 elders who have been longtime supporters of the language fair have passed away in recent years.

Their loss is deeply felt both at the museum and in their communities. The goal is to carry on their legacies and their passion for the preservation of Native cultures and languages through the fair.

Visit the website to make a contribution to the Native Language Fair Honor Fund. To honor a specific elder, select “this is an honorary or memorial gift.” Information about the specific individuals honored through the fund will be made available online and at the language fair.