Spring Semester Cherokee Language Course to be Offered at RSU Pryor

Beginning in the spring semester, Rogers State University will offer Cherokee language courses on its Pryor campus.

Cherokee I will begin in January at the start of the spring 2009 semester and Cherokee II will be offered in the fall. The university plans to continue the course rotation each year.

The class will be offered on the Pryor campus from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday nights starting January 13. The Cherokee language courses are open to both degree seeking and non-degree seeking students.

“We are located in the Cherokee Nation, so it is only natural that we offer Cherokee language classes,” said Dr. Hugh Foley, associate professor and coordinator of Native American Studies at RSU. “This is part of our continued development of American Indian Studies at RSU.”

Cherokee language courses are also taught on the RSU’s Claremore campus where Cherokee I is offered each fall and Cherokee II is offered each spring.

The course is part of RSU Native American Studies Program. Students can take the course as part of the minor in Native American Studies or to fulfill a general education requirement. 

Meda Nix will be the instructor for the course.

Nix describes herself as a full-blood Cherokee who grew up in a home where both English and Cherokee were spoken.

“As a Cherokee citizen I feel like teaching the language is doing my part to keep the language alive,” Nix said.

She is currently a student in the Cherokee Language Degree Program at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, and is taking advanced Cherokee classes. Nix said she enjoys sharing that knowledge with others.

Cherokee is a complex language with its own alphabet, but it is a rewarding language to learn, she said.

“Being able to walk up to another Cherokee speaker and being able to greet that person in the Cherokee language instills a sense of pride in you,” Nix said.

She said it is that feeling of pride she wants all of her students to have.

Nix said she would encourage both those with a background in Cherokee and those with no background at all to take her class.  

“We have a good time in class but we also learn,” she said.

The Cherokee language course is part of expanded course offerings at the RSU Pryor campus, said Sherry Alexander, director of the RSU Pryor campus.

Eighteen new classes will be offered this spring in a variety of areas including accounting, art, business, music and theatre appreciation and Spanish.

In addition to new courses, a $1.3 million, 7,400-square-foot expansion of the Pryor campus will be completed this year.  The new wing is adjacent to the existing campus building located at 421 S. Elliott St. and has been constructed to match the existing architecture.

“The Pryor campus is ‘where to start’ your college education in Mayes County. The focus of the expansion is to better serve students in our area,” Alexander said.

RSU is the only four-year university serving the Pryor and Mayes County area and on average more than 300 students attend the RSU campus in Pryor each semester.

For more information about the RSU campus in Pryor, or to enroll in classes, call (918) 825-6117 or visit www.rsu.edu/pryor/index.asp.