As Europeans expanded across the Americas, Native Americans began to succumb to diseases that they were not immune to. This led to a loss of many smaller tribes and languages.
The effects didn’t end after the diseases passed through the populations. The overwhelming effects of the government’s integration efforts: Indian Removal Act, shared reservations, and boarding schools worked to create a multi-generational loss of culture and language. Young people didn’t get to learn, or speak int heir native languages. This has led to many languages being forgotten. Or, only a few surviving members speaking the language in private.
The loss of a language may now sound like a big deal. Except, some concepts can only be explained in their original language. The loss of language leads to the loss of original religions, as they all become meshed into one. They lose traditions, name meanings, and much more of their identity.
Although the loss of language is not central in any of my novels, Crosswinds does mention it a little when discussing other cultures. It could perhaps have been worked in more. She could have interrupted a conversation in native speak. Except, this group was from so many cultures, that it was easier to speak English among themselves, rather than a combination of a dozen other languages that may, or may not have been grammatically meshable.
University of Utah Shifts Focus to Tribal Languages, Some Fear World Indigenous Languages Will Be Left Behind. ICTMN Staff. Indian Country Today Media Network. 10/3/12. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/10/03/university-utah-shifts-focus-tribal-languages-some-fear-world-indigenous-languages-will Date Accessed: September 2, 2016.