American Indian English by William L. Leap

By William L. Leap

Examines the variety of English in American Indian speech groups.

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Government agents and missionaries introduced the Northern Ute to farming after the bands were settled on the reservation; but, except for those who grow alfalfa to feed their horses, very few tribal members have ever made long-term investments in agriculture. The primary source of income on this reservation is wage-laborlargely under the sponsorship of one or more tribally based programs. The number of such jobs is limited, however, and unemployment rates are high. S. Highway 40 (the major east-west roadway on the reservation).

In some cases, only the elders in the household are speakers of Ute. In others, persons at all generations are Ute language proficient, with or without the presence of elders in the home. And in others, no one of any age speaks Ute. Because I have a lot to say about Northern Ute varieties of English in the following chapters, I will make only brief comments on this topic here. There are many Ute varieties of English, and their distribution, speaker by speaker, follows the patterns found for the ancestral language.

However, churches are not located exclusively in non-Indian towns. There is a Roman Catholic church in Roosevelt, and the parish operates missions in Duchesne and Fort Duchesne. There are Episcopal missions in White Rocks and Randelette, an Assembly of God church in Roosevelt, an Indian Baptist church on the White Rocks road, and a Pentecostal church one mile north of the Baptist facility. And there are Mormon churches in all of the non-Indian settlements and in some of the Indian ones. This means that Northern Ute people may travel considerable distances on Sundays and during the week, according to their religious preferences.

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