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"Nuwa, without our language, who are we?"  
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The Kawaiisu, or "Nuwa," an American Indian tribe of about 250, are indigenous to the remote and rural Tehachapi and Paiute Mountain areas of Kern County. Our neighborhood is in California's Sierra Nevada foothills. Because of our relocation by the United States Government in the late 1800’s, our traditions such as dress, music, songs, and knowledge of sacred sites have been mostly lost with only our language, traditional stories, and our survival skills remaining. We are not federally recognized. Our remaining Kawaiisu speakers are Elders so we have very little time left to learn and document their knowledge before they are gone and our language and cultural practices die with them. Several of us are working hard to become new speakers of Kawaiisu. We have been teaching and documenting our language and culture since 2002.

Far too many California Indian cultures have been eliminated. The members of the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center are determined that our culture will not be added to the list.

In September 2007 the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with an 9-member board. Our dream is that our native language will once again be spoken in our native communities. We conduct projects to learn Kawaiisu and our traditional ways and produce teaching media about them. We also assist other indigenous groups in their language and cultural revitalization by providing non-profit fiscal sponsorship and training in language revitalization strategies such as the development of teaching materials, archives, and new media.

 
 
                                                                                              
 


 

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Learn Kawaiisu using recordings from our Media page

Click here for your own copy of the Kawaiisu dictionary

To hear fluent speakers from the past, go to the Survey. Log in, register for free and explore the Sheldon Klein collection

Looking for a child's storybook in Kawaiisu? Click here