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NSU’s Cherokee Education program has 1st graduate

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) – Northeastern State University‘s Cherokee Education degree program now has its first graduate.

Greg Drowning Bear received his bachelor’s degree on Saturday during the university‘s fall commencement ceremony. The program is a partnership between NSU and the Tahlequah-based Cherokee Nation.

NSU says it is the only public university in the nation to offer a teaching degree in an American Indian language.

Drowning Bear and his wife moved to Tahlequah in 2004 from north Alabama to enroll their children in a tribal Cherokee language immersion school.

He says that most of the fluent speakers of Cherokee are older than 40 and that for the language to survive, it needs to produce fluent speakers.

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