The ANA Messenger: Native Languages Edition 2014
Comanche Nation College, Oklahoma
“Numa Tekwapu” Comanche Language
“The difference between a community college and a Tribal community college is language and culture.” -- Gene Pekaw, Dean of Student Services
Organized in 2002, Comanche Nation College (CNC) was the first Tribal College established in the state of Oklahoma, and in 2012 it became the first Tribal community college in the state to receive accreditation. The mission of CNC is to provide educational opportunities in higher education combined with the traditions and customs of the Comanche Nation and other American Indian perspectives. The College provides associate degree programs and educational opportunities in higher education that meet the needs of Comanche Nation citizens, all other Tribal members, and the public.
Elders provided on-going input, and participated in the recording of Comanche language words and phrases. The recordings, along with appropriate pictures, advanced the development of the computer training modules and student comprehension, and allowed students to hear fluent, Native speakers pronounce Comanche words.
The project was designed to develop audio and visual materials to support Native learning styles which tend to be visual and oral. Success was driven by a dedicated (and humorous) staff and 40 Elders and 55 youth being involved.
The College also built upon internal and external collaborations to develop interactive language computer modules, resulting in an increase in available instructional materials. Over 5,100 hours of Comanche language instruction has been given and 20 students have increased their ability to speak and comprehend the language.