Tutelo-Saponi Monacan
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Tutelo-Saponi is a branch of Siouan once spoken by American Indians in central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. As a trade language, Tutelo-Saponi was spoken by many tribes in the region including the Occaneechi around what is now Hillsborough, and the Haliwa-Saponi tribe in Halifax and Warren Counties.

Dr. Marvin “Marty” Richardson, project director for the Haliwa-Saponi Historic Legacy Project, said documents show that the Haliwa-Saponi tribe has been in the area since at least the 1720s. It now has about 4,000 enrolled members, mostly living around Hollister, NC. They’re descended from the Nansemond, Saponi and Tuscarora tribes, which came together for safety from disease and warfare after the beginning of colonization.

Read more here: https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/rebuilding-the-tutelo-saponi-language-for-tribe-s-next-generation-E-ywhONBHECbx-eW-YPJFw/


In 2021, the team building the Tutelo-Saponi Monacan Living Dictionary received a grant from The Endangered Language Fund's Native Voices Endowment to support the creation of the platform. Led by indigenous historian and language activist Dr. Marvin Richardson, the goal of the project is to provide enrolled members of the Monacan Indian Nation, as well as other indigenous people of Tutelo, Saponi and Monacan descent, with a comprehensive mobile-friendly digital language resource.

By the end of 2023, the Tutelo-Saponi (Monacan) Living Dictionary will house over 3,000 words and phrases alongside accurate audio recordings paired with engaging and culturally relevant images and videos. It will serve as a basis for language revitalization in the Monacan Indian Nation in Virginia as well as the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, and Sappony Tribe in North Carolina, as well as the Ohio Band of Saponi.

Collaborators of this project include principal investigator Dr. Marvin Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe), Anna Luisa Daigneault (Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages), Corey Justin Roberts (PhD Candidate in Linguistics at the University of Arizona), Dr. David Kaufman (linguistic anthropologist), Dr. Gregory D. S. Anderson (Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages) and Matthew Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe).

In Winter 2023, the following interns at Living Tongues Institute worked on background research, editing and data entry in this Living Dictionary: Maksymilian Rębisz, Selena Syrett, Manuel Aguilera, Akano Johnson, Rachel Mattie and others. 

Please submit any questions about this dictionary using the 'Contact Us' form at the top right of the page, thanks!