Editor’s note: This story originally aired on July 10, 2015
The Arapaho language is one of many indigenous languages considered endangered. But a new book of bilingual Arapaho stories attempts to help the problem by collecting hundreds of songs and prayers into one place.
University of Colorado linguist Andrew Cowell discovered a treasure trove of translated stories during his research. He got the help of William C’Hair in translating his findings. C’Hair is the official interpreter for the Northern Arapaho tribe and has worked much of his life to create a written system for preserving his tribe’s language. I sat down with them to hear some of their favorite stories.
Northern Arapaho translator William C’Hair and Linguist Andrew Cowell’s book, Arapaho Stories, Songs and Prayers: A Bilingual Anthology, was published by the University of Oklahoma Press last year. They are currently working on a dictionary of the Arapaho language. You can hear C’Hair tell a story in Arapaho and Cowell’s translation in English below.