Reviving Our Language

Like all tribes across the country, we know that our cultural survival is the key to our identity and language is at the heart of our culture. We are preparing our children for the future in ways that honor our heritage and demonstrate the belief that our Patwin language is an essential element of our continued success and independence as a people.

The Cultural Resources Department and Yocha Dehe Wintun Academy are making great strides in preserving and teaching our language and traditions, while renewing our bonds with them for today and tomorrow. Since 2006 we have offered classes in our traditional dialect of the Hill Patwin language. In 2012, we accomplished a powerful act of sovereignty by gaining the American Indian Languages Credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Currently, 14 youth classes and two adult classes are taught at Yocha Dehe on a weekly basis. Children and adults are now advancing and starting to speak Patwin at an intermediate level. Our iTunes database of Patwin words and phrases includes more than 8,000 entries, and in 2011 we developed the first Hill Patwin translation book. We launched a Patwin language website in 2009 and we are now creating a grammar book and history curriculum.