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Cultural Resources Department

Braided Paths: Conversations in Indian Country

   Braided Paths is a public program presented by the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in partnership with regional tribes in Oklahoma and funded in part by the Oklahoma Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Humanities.

   Through tribal community interviews and programming, the three-part series explored the unique historic, contemporary and cultural contribution of tribal communities to Oklahoma

Watch Braided Paths: Conversations in Indian Country Online Now!

Department Information

As a tribally established department dedicated to the preservation, revitalization, and promotion of Seminole culture, Semvnole Etvlwv En Fulletv Em Vyposkv (SEFV) [The Seminole Nation Cultural Resources Department] asserts that our language is vital to the perpetuation of Seminole culture and as a gift from The Creator is responsible for preserving and developing for future generations.

To achieve this mission, SEFV will work to provide a wide range of pedagogical and technical support to help individuals, schools and communities perpetuate our language. Serving ten communities within Seminole County and three extended communities and working within close access to approximately 1,500 Seminole children, SEFV will produce needed textbooks and workbooks, computer-based multimedia materials, classroom visual aids, and provide teacher training to childcare, Head Start, schools, college and community teachers. Our curricula are being designed to create perpetual linguistic and literary fluency. Comprehensive, sequential curricula for Seminole are being devised for each grade, pre-school through college. SEFV will also work to promote activities within the communities that support language acquisition and usage. Plans include language immersion camps, cultural events, and media activities. On-going efforts include grant applications, fund raising and public relation campaigns to support the primary activities of the department, and to promote a wider awareness of the acute problem of Native language loss in North America.

Our Vision:

  • to provide every Seminole child with the means to become a speaker of Seminole as a first language within the home, or as a fluent second-language speaker from school;

  • to ensure that the language is used in every household within the Nation, and that children are raised at an ever-increasing rate as first language speakers;

  • to nurture a full and vibrant linguistic and literary community that develops in the language through numerous avenues, both in and out of school; and

  • to support the Seminole language as it grows in usage and complexity, and remains vital within a growing range of genres and purposes.

Seminole Nation Cultural Resources - One Year Plan Press Release

Semvnole Etvlwv En Fulletv Em Vyoposkv has developed the following PRIMARY ONE-YEAR GOALS for the language component of the department. These goals are organized around the guiding motto Etem Omvlkusen Kerrakets! (Let’s learn together). Etem Omvlkusen Kerrakets! implies that, regardless of age, we all have something to learn about Semvnole language and culture.

  1. To focus on the redevelopment of Semvnole ‘punvkv (fluency and literacy).
  3. To engage community members in the path towards fluency in ways that are inclusive and increase their well-being.
  5. To ensure that all activities engaged in are steps, no matter how small, towards the redevelopment of Semvnole ‘punvkv as a functioning primary means of communicating within the Seminole Nation.

Semvnole Etvlwv En Fulletv Em Vyoposkv is continuously working to establish and maintain a comprehensive, sustainable, and necessary language program which focuses on fluency development and well being for all Seminole people.

Mvnettvlke Enhake Immersion School

The current focal point of the language program is the Mvnettvlke Enhake immersion school. The Mvnettvlke Enhake immersion school is currently functioning at full capacity. The school has six students ranging in ages from six months to three years and a waiting list of ten additional children. Current staff includes two full-time and three part-time teachers. A new location and building for the school are currently being purchased in order to increase the number of students served and to provide the needed teaching spaces for current students. The site is a 40'x60' metal building located on10 acres 4 miles South of I-40 or 5 miles North of Seminole. The building will have the capacity to house three classrooms and includes a pavilion for an outdoor classroom and meeting area.

The primary goal of the Mvnnetvlke Enhake school is to produce fluent speakers. The role of parents/family members in taking ownership of their children’s education is essential to the success of the school. Steps are continually being taken to ensure a constant positive relationship between families and all those whose employment is related to the school. Parents receive home language nest packets and work created at school by the students is provided to parents/family members. To help strengthen the child’s language support system a family member is also required to attend a one-hour weekly language class.

The immersion school is dependent upon the continual growth of school administrators, teachers, accessible curriculum and other literacy materials. Efforts are currently being made to develop a Pre-K curriculum for the 2012-2013 school year. Teachers continuously receive educational staff development training especially in the area of immersion/bilingual education.

Collegiate Partnerships

In addition to the Level 1 Mvskoke (Seminole/Creek) language class that will begin at Seminole State College on October 10, 2011, Semvnole Etvlwv En Fulletv Em Vyoposkv is in the process of developing syllabi for three additional levels of college teaching. Current plans are to add an additional level each Fall and Spring semester over the next two years. The four sequential levels meets Oklahoma State Department of Education certification requirements for teachers to receive an endorsement of their teaching certificate that will allow them to teach the language in public schools.

Semvnole Etvlwv En Fulletv Em Vyoposkv has also entered into initial discussions with the University of Oklahoma’s College of Education to develop a specialized plan of study for a Seminole Teacher Education Program. The program would be a bachelors degree program designed to prepare teachers of the highest quality, who are grounded in Seminole language and culture, to teach in the Pumvhakv School and other schools serving Seminole students. Academics will be integrated with holistic indigenous knowledge and classroom instruction will be combined with on-site learning and practicum experience. The four program areas for teacher preparation will include, (1) Seminole language, culture, and values, (2) pedagogical skills, (3) knowledge of content; and (4) professional/classroom management skills.

Pvmvhakv School

Semvnole Etvlwv En Fulletv Em Vyoposkv is currently in the process of writing charters for a primary school and a secondary school. This process typically takes about one year to complete. Although a specific sponsor has not been identified, discussions are occurring with two universities for possible sponsorship. The establishment of the Pumvhakv School will be a major step for Seminole Nation in its responsibility as a sovereign nation to provide for the education of its citizens.

Charter schools are not private schools but primary or secondary schools that receive public money (and like other schools, may also receive private donations) but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school's charter. Charter schools are opened and attended by choice. While charter schools provide an alternative to other public schools, they are part of the public education system and do not charge tuition. Enrollment in a charter school is frequently allocated by lottery-based admissions.

Dyron Murphy Architects, P.C. has offered its assistance, free of charge, in developing the programming aspects for a permanent school site and school buildings. Dyron Murphy Architects, P.C. is a Native American-owned architectural firm providing comprehensive architectural services and construction administration to the Native American community. It is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and collaborates with Native American-owned consultants and construction firms to provide a full range of services to its clients in the Western, Midwest and Southwest United States -including New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. It provides services in the design of schools / educational facilities, healthcare / medical facilities, housing, dormitories, head start / daycare facilities, community development projects, and commercial / office buildings. It also offers master planning services and assessment.

Cultural Resources Staff

Theodore Isham, Historic Preservation



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