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For Navajo Nation, candidate stirs questions about saving dying language
For Navajo Nation, candidate stirs questions about saving dying language

Navajo elder Jay Tsosie winces when he recalls those torturous classroom drills from his childhood. Back when the 77-year-old was a skinny, rambunctious schoolboy, teachers from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs tried to exorcise a part of Tsosie that he considers integral to his very being: his native language. When caught whispering Navajo to classmates, Tsosie felt the wrath of an often sadistic English-only system: Teachers washed his mouth with soap and forced him to kneel on pencils and hold two heavy soda bottles in his outstretched arms. "Some days," Tsosie said, "I had to write on the blackboard 100 times: 'I will not speak Navajo.'" ...

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