Bartlesville High School teaching Osage language class

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — Bartlesville High School is teaching Osage language classes this year.

The course teaches not only how to read, write and speak Osage, but also teaches the culture and history of the Osage Nation so students can see how the language changed over time.

Students at the school said they actually asked for this to be a full time class.

The man who teaches it, Corey Maker, said it’s vitally important to keep the Osage language and culture alive.

“We’re in a state of revitalization with the Osage nation, both with our language but also our culture. So, being able to teach this to any and all people is absolutely important, especially our Osage people, and also other Native Americans who may have not grown up with their culture,” he said.

77 students have enrolled on the course and Maker said other schools should offer similar classes too.

“Especially here in Oklahoma, where we have 39 federally recognized tribes concentrated in this one state, I think. That all of our schools should be offering this, whether they can or not is another question, but I would definitely love to see the other tribal nations have programs like this,” Maker said.

Jennifer Jacobs’ 15-year-old son goes to Bartlesville High School and she told FOX23 she thinks the course is a good idea.

“He’s Cherokee and I’ve been trying to talk him into getting into more of his culture and learning more,” she said. “I think it’s awesome, I think they need to learn their culture.”

Maker said native languages are at a critical and that’s why this class is so important.

“If we don’t continue to teach this language and we don’t strive for these classes to happen, then a language will be gone,” Maker said. “We have to keep this alive because we’re at a vital state right now, we’re too close to losing it all.”

Maker said its not just Osage citizens who are taking the course, he said some of the students told him they wanted to take the class because they’re interested in Native American culture.

He also said so far the lessons have been really successful and he hopes the class will be around for a long time to come.