Many immigrants from Europe to America lost their original languages within 3 generations. This was done so intentionally in order to fit in with the new society being created in the USA which was based around speaking English. The same cannot be said for the languages of the Native American tribes.
For many years Native Americans were banned by law from using their native tongues. Of course, they kept their languages and cultures alive secretly. In the modern period many Native Americans have become dispersed; they no longer live on reservations. They watch TV, adopt modern consumer habits and have lost the ability to speak the ancient language of the Sioux, the Apache etc.
To stop native languages being lost the Center for Indian Education (CIE) at Arizona University has set out to document, transcribe and preserve the languages of Native Americans.
The CIE has been working closely with the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe. There is still a community of native speakers who are attempting to keep their traditions and culture alive.
Of particular importance to the Fort Mojave Indians is the bird songs. These are ceremonial songs with dancing and musical accompaniment. The words of the songs speak of the truths of the universe. They are moving and at the hearty of the Mojave Indian culture.The songs also contain unique words which are only used in songs.
We must not lose our songs; otherwise, the joy will bleed from our hearts.