Published on July 10, 2014 by Amy
Tutelo was a Siouan language of Virginia. The last fluent speaker died in the 1990′s, and few Tutelos remember anything of the old language today. However, some Tutelo people are trying to revive their ancestral language for cultural purposes. The Saponi language has been extinct much longer, but it is thought to have been a dialect of Tutelo, both from the similarity in vocabulary and from historical accounts indicating that people from the two tribes could understand each other without an interpreter. The main difference is that the Saponi dialect appears to have borrowed a number of vocabulary words from southern Algonquian languages like Powhatan and a few from African languages (the Saponi Indians were known for sheltering African slaves).
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