A family struggles to bring its ancestral tongue back to life
by Heidi Walters
October 27, 2011
Elaina Supahan Albers remembers well what her husband, Phil Albers Jr., said that day eight years ago when she told him she was pregnant with their first child. She was 20 and he was 23. They both worked hotel jobs and attended Southern Oregon University, although Phil was about to graduate. They were at home in their little rental house on Park Street in Ashland, their first home together.
“It wasn’t like, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to be parents!’” she says, laughing. “It was, ‘I have nine months to become fluent!’
The Albers are both Karuk, but at the time they weren’t fluent in their ancestral language. There would be challenges. The Albers anticipated some of them: their own inadequacies with the language, English surround-sound everywhere they went, few Karuk-speaking peers for their kids to practice with.
But their home-immersion plan turned out to be even harder than they’d imagined.
Read the full article at http://www.northcoastjournal.com/news/2011/10/27/karuk