Osiyo. My name is Orrin Lewis, and I am Cherokee. This is my personal
homepage. Actually, it's not too much of a homepage. I am old-fashioned
and I don't like to put my picture on the Internet. And I don't care very
much for the pictures of half-naked Indian women with their animal
guides that are all over a lot of Indian homepages, and I have an old
computer which sometimes crashes when it sees sites that begin playing
some flute music and try to show me pictures of a rippling pond or something.
So this homepage is very bare.
If you click here, you will see my new project, Native
Languages of the Americas. There we are providing information about all the
Amerindian languages, with careful web directories of each one and also links
to other resources about the people who speak each language. I should admit,
my friend Laura is doing almost all of the programming and web searching
there. I'm a little bit new with computers. But in any event, it is a very
comprehensive site and I recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone. Unfortunately
it is unfinished. But you can see the Cherokee language page, and
the Algonquian languages are also almost done. We also
have an Internet Myths Page debunking a lot of silly ideas
about Indians that are floating around out there, such as we came from the lost
island of Atlantis or are a lost tribe of Israel or something like that. And here
is Laura's essay about American Indian language revival.
So though I may be new with computers, I still have something to offer
the Internet! Go and check them out.
Information about me:
Osiyo, my name is Orrin Lewis. I am Cherokee. I also have Muskogee blood (my father's
mother was half-Muskogee) and also have white ancestors (my father's father was
half-white, and so were some older ancestors on my mother's side). But I never knew
them, and I don't know too much about them. I was raised in Oklahoma. I am a tribal member of
the Cherokee Nation. But, I do not speak my language. That really hurts my heart.
I am the broken link. Back in the fifties, a lot of people were not teaching their kids
to speak Tsalagi. They didn't want them to get hit at school or anything. The schools were
very aggressive about only speaking English, and my oldest brother had a really bad time.
Anyway, so my parents didn't teach it to me. But I have a granddaughter now
who is learning the language again. My daughter-in-law's mother is a fluent speaker and she moved in
with them to help care for Winnie. She is six now and speaking Cherokee pretty good. So maybe that
circle has closed again. Listening to her and Maryann talking together makes me remember my own
grandmother, a long time ago, and it gives me hope for the future. Maybe the web pages that we are
working on will help other young people to know about and want to learn their ancestral
languages, before they are all gone.
Other things about me: I have one son, John, and two daughters, Annie and Terry. I have three
wonderful grandchildren, Winnie, Sarah, and John Jr. who was just born this Sept 1, 2003.
I am retired and I live near Chicago now because that is where John and his family are. Annie and Sarah
still live in Oklahoma. Terry has graduated from college now, she is the first one in my parents family to do this.
Now I moved this homepage so that the Native American Languages page
will be the first thing a visitor sees, because I think it is much more important and also more
people will care about it. If you want us to add a link to your page please write to
Laura, she is the webmaster. If you want to
contact me my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want help with genealogy, Wiccan or New Age religion, Indian language translation,
or finding Indian names, please see this FAQ page which will answer
your questions and give you useful URL's to look at. Neither of us will answer these
questions via email.
Eventually, I want to put my own opinions about some things here, because some people are
asking me what I think about them. But right now, I am too busy with the languages pages.
So you can look forward to that later.
For those who have asked, I have also archived my NDN-List posting about
promoting American Indian Internet sites. And I am an editor with the
Open Directory Project also trying to make Indian sites more visible on the Internet.
If you have a site with good information about an Indian tribe please go there and submit it so that it can be reviewed for that directory.