04-15-2024  8:31 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

Four Ballot Measures for Portland Voters to Consider

Proposals from the city, PPS, Metro and Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District.

Washington Gun Store Sold Hundreds of High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines in 90 Minutes Without Ban

KGW-TV reports Wally Wentz, owner of Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso, described Monday as “magazine day” at his store. Wentz is behind the court challenge to Washington’s high-capacity magazine ban, with the help of the Silent Majority Foundation in eastern Washington.

Five Running to Represent Northeast Portland at County Level Include Former Mayor, Social Worker, Hotelier (Part 2)

Five candidates are vying for the spot previously held by Susheela Jayapal, who resigned from office in November to focus on running for Oregon's 3rd Congressional District. Jesse Beason is currently serving as interim commissioner in Jayapal’s place. (Part 2)

NEWS BRIEFS

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Major Disaster Declaration for Oregon

Yolanda J. Jackson has been named Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas. ...

Americans Willing to Pay More to Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap, Creating a New Opportunity for Black Business Owners

National research released today provides encouraging news that most Americans are willing to pay a premium price for products and...

Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan Directs Development Funding to Complete Next Phase of Gateway Green Project

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is beginning a new phase of accessibility and park improvements to Gateway Green, the...

Application Opens for Preschool for All 2024-25 School Year

Multnomah County children who will be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1, 2024 are eligible to apply now for free preschool...

PCC and LAIKA Partner to Foster Diversity in Animation

LAIKA is contributing ,000 to support student scholarships and a new animation and graphics degree. ...

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down airport highways and key bridges in major US cities

CHICAGO (AP) — Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked roadways in Illinois, California, New York and the Pacific Northwest on Monday, temporarily shutting down travel into some of the nation's most heavily used airports, onto the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges and on a busy West Coast highway. ...

Asbestos victim's dying words aired in wrongful death case against Buffet's railroad

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Thomas Wells ran a half-marathon at age 60 and played recreational volleyball until he was 63. At 65 years old, doctors diagnosed him with mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. “I’m in great pain and alls I see is this...

Caleb Williams among 13 confirmed prospects for opening night of the NFL draft

NEW YORK (AP) — Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, the popular pick to be the No. 1 selection overall, will be among 13 prospects attending the first round of the NFL draft in Detroit on April 25. The NFL announced the 13 prospects confirmed as of Thursday night, and...

Georgia ends game on 12-0 run to beat Missouri 64-59 in first round of SEC tourney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Blue Cain had 19 points, Justin Hill scored 17 off the bench and 11th-seeded Georgia finished the game on a 12-0 run to beat No. 14 seed Missouri 64-59 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Cain hit 6 of 12 shots,...

OPINION

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

COMMENTARY: Is a Cultural Shift on the Horizon?

As with all traditions in all cultures, it is up to the elders to pass down the rituals, food, language, and customs that identify a group. So, if your auntie, uncle, mom, and so on didn’t teach you how to play Spades, well, that’s a recipe lost. But...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Prominent New York church, sued for gender bias, moves forward with male pastor candidate

A search committee previously sued for gender discrimination over its hiring process has announced its pick for the next senior pastor of a prominent New York City congregation considered by some to be the flagship of the Black church in America. Candidate Kevin R. Johnson, founding...

Beyoncé is bringing her fans of color to country music. Will they be welcomed in?

NEW YORK (AP) — Dusty, worn boots. Horses lapping up water. Sweat dripping from the foreheads of every shade of Black skin as country classics blare through giant speakers. These moments are frequently recreated during Tayhlor Coleman’s family gatherings at their central Texas ranch. For her,...

Gene Herrick, AP photographer who covered the Korean War and civil rights, dies at 97

RICH CREEK, Va. (AP) — Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered the Korean War and is known for his iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the trial of the killers of Emmett Till in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, died Friday. He was 97. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Golf has a ratings problem, and the Masters could shine a light on why viewers are tuning out

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Golf has a ratings problem. The week-to-week grind of the PGA Tour has essentially become No Need To See TV, raising serious concerns about what it means for the future of the game. Now comes the Masters, the first major championship of the year and...

George Lucas to receive honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival

George Lucas will receive an honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival next month, festival organizers announced Tuesday. Lucas will be honored at the closing ceremony to the 77th French film festival on May 25. He joins a short list of those to receive honorary Palmes. Last...

Luke Combs leads the 2024 ACM Awards nominations, followed by Morgan Wallen and Megan Moroney

Luke Combs leads the nominees for the 2024 Academy of Country Music Awards with eight nods to his name, it was announced Tuesday. For a fifth year in a row, he's up for both male artist of the year and the top prize, entertainer of the year. The 59th annual ACM Awards...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

It's Tax Day. And your refund may be big this year

WASHINGTON (AP) — On this Tax Day, refunds are looking a bit bigger for taxpayers. According to...

IAEA warns that attacks on a nuclear plant in Russian-controlled Ukraine put the world at risk

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia and Ukraine on Monday traded blame before the United Nations Security Council for...

Bureau of Prisons to close California women's prison where inmates have been subjected to sex abuse

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The beleaguered federal Bureau of Prisons said Monday it will close a women's prison in...

World paid little attention to Sudan's war for a year. Now aid groups warn of mass death from hunger

CAIRO (AP) — On a clear night a year ago, a dozen heavily armed fighters broke into Omaima Farouq’s house in...

The Latest | Israel says it will respond to Iran attack as world leaders urge restraint

Israel’s military chief said Monday that the country will respond after Iran launched an attack involving...

House Speaker Mike Johnson pushes towards a vote on aid for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Mike Johnson is pushing toward action this week on aid for Israel, Ukraine and...

Jessica Cheung New America Media

Convinced that discarding their language would be tantamount to discarding their identity, members of one Indian tribe recently donated $1 million to California State University (CSU), Fresno, in an effort to save their language from extinction.

The funds, which leaders of the Chukchansi tribe hope will allow linguists at the CSU to compile a dictionary and assemble grammar texts over the next five years, generated from the tribe-owned casino nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

"When [the United States] began the genocide of Native American communities, the reason they allowed us to sign our treaties was because we had a language," Kimberly Lawhon, education coordinator for the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, said. "Generations of our elders went through drought and atrocities; the core of our language is our identity."

Jose Diaz, associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the Fresno school, said the grant would "speed up the process" already in motion at the school "to preserve an endangered language."

"Before the grant, faculty members were volunteering on their own time with the Chukchansi tribe," Diaz observed.

Research on the language started in the summer of  2009 when the Chukchansi tribe reached out to faculty linguists.

Agbayani, Chris Golston, and Niken Adisasmito-Smith are three of the main CSU Fresno linguistic professors currently working with the Chukchansi tribe.

A 2011 UC Berkeley survey of native Indian languages in California by UC Berkeley indicated that only a few fluent speakers of Chukchansi exist today.

"We were very lucky to be approached by a few Chukchansi fluent speakers," Agbayani said. "[But even among them] a lot of the vocabulary is at the tip of the tongue. The more time we spend with them, the more we're able to tap it."

Two centuries ago, California was the most linguistically diverse region in the western hemisphere with about 90 native Indian languages spoken. Today, only about 50 native languages are spoken in the state — but just barely. Half of those languages have a scant number of native speakers, most of whom are in their 80s.

"Most speakers are semi-speakers" who remember their language, UC Berkeley Linguistics Professor emerita Leanne Hinton observed. "There's a movement of language revitalization, with an increasing amount of second language speakers, and a growing number of families trying to use [their tribal languages] at home."

Around the world, one language dies every 14 days, according to a study done by National Geographic and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, which estimates that roughly half of the 7,000 world languages spoken today will disappear by the next century.

The movement to revitalize endangered languages is at high tide as students and schools across the nation are banding together to create Native American student groups and implement preservation projects. Hinton recently directed a Breath for Life workshop at UC Berkeley, where students and a linguistics mentor worked with a group of Indians to document languages.

But the effort is fraught with challenges partly because there is a scarcity of people who want to learn the language.

"The problem is that diversity in languages is so great in California that there aren't strong programs where people can be fluent," Hinton said. "Revitalization is pulled by the bootstraps, pioneered by individuals, organizations, advocates and living speakers."

"We have a lot of people dedicating time and effort to teaching the language, but there aren't a lot of adults dedicated to reach fluency of their language," Lawhon said. "The biggest hurdle is getting our membership to devote themselves to learning."

But Lawhon remains optimistic, saying that she's even had "non-native speakers in the community come to learn the language."

Chukchansi courses for kids and adults are taught predominantly by members of the tribe at Coarsegold Elementary School near their Rancheria. They will offer Chukchansi courses as an elective in the junior high class if 20 students sign up.

Even though the recent efforts to document endangered languages will provide records, the future of native languages, Hinton said, is in "revitalization, not survival."

"There are two sides to language preservation," Agabayani said. "One is to revitalize the language, encouraging their children to carry [forward] the language. The second is to document the language."

Language research and documentation can only prevent endangered languages from complete extinction. The population of native speakers is shrinking, and researchers worry that in due time, all that will be left may be records.

Only a minute fraction of today's 7,000 existing languages are indigenous, which Golston describes as "precious."

When a language goes silent, knowledge along with it dissipates. Because speakers of endangered languages generally live near animals and plants, their language holds key to unlocking insight to nature.

"Languages don't fossilize" like dinosaurs, Golston said. "We can still learn about dinosaurs [beyond their extinction]. When languages are not recorded, they're gone forever. It's becoming more critical as the number of native speakers dwindle into small numbers."

"This may be the last generation of speakers," Linguists Professor at CSU Fresno Brian Agbayani said. "We're hoping that more tribes are taking action to revitalize their language, and I think it's becoming a worldwide effort."

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast