Durbin Feeling Collection

Languages represented: Cherokee

The Durbin Feeling Collection consists of video footage pertaining to Cherokee, an Iroquoian family language and the only Southern Iroquoian language still actively spoken (primarily in parts of Oklahoma and North Carolina).

It is believed that the Cherokee people migrated from the Great Lakes region of what is now the United States to the southeast region (present day Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee), taking their language with them. The Cherokee language uses its own writing system, known as the Cherokee syllabary.

In 1975, Durbin Feeling of the Cherokee Nation, took the syllabary and published the Cherokee-English Dictionary. He later went on to teach at the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and then worked in the language department of the Cherokee Nation in the town of Tahlequah, Okla., where Cherokee is prominently spoken. Feeling has also collaborated with the electronics company Apple in the designation of Cherokee fonts for writing on iPads and iPhones. In 2007, he partnered with the Sam Noble Museum to help establish the Durbin Feeling Collection.

The collection features reports to the Cherokee people, claymation movies, Cherokee stories from the United Keetowah Band and Durbin Feeling’s letters from the Vietnam War (all in Cherokee). The collection also features 6 Oklahoma high school basketball championship games, with play-by-plays by Dennis Sixkiller completely in the Cherokee language. A list of basketball terms in Cherokee accompanies this footage.