Language and Indigenous Peoples

How To Speak Tohono O'odham, A Native American Indian Indigenous Language

Janice Ramon teaches Tohono O'odham language at the Ha:san Preparatory and Leadership School, a charter school in Tucson, Arizona for grades 9-12.

Most of the students at Ha:san are Tohono O'odham tribal members. About 2 percent of the students are from tribes such as Apache and Pascua Yaqui.

Ramon, 57, teaches mostly freshmen and sophomores. She said part of the satisfaction of teaching is that "every day I am still learning new things" about Tohono O'odham culture.

Teaching, she said, "has given me a time to focus on things that I know or I have learned or I am learning."

Tohono O'odham was Ramon's first language. She grew up in the tribal community of San Xavier, one of four land bases of the Tohona O'odham Nation. San Xavier, which is still Ramon's home, is located about 25 miles south of Tucson.

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