USA (MNN) — An audio Bible project has had its share of challenges.
Audio Scripture Ministries got permission three years ago to record Scripture in the Winnebago Ho-chunk language–the disappearing language of a Midwestern Native American tribe. At that time, only the book of Mark was recorded.
Now, ASM is trying to add John's Gospel to the Winnebago Ho-chunk collection. They're working on a printed version of the book of John in that language, which will be used alongside a proposed audio recording of John.
Together, these resources will be used to encourage Native Americans belonging to the Ho-chunk Nation.
The Ho-chunk people, also known as the Winnebago, are a tribe native to the Midwest. Current tribal elders say Ho-chunk means "the people of the big voice," or "the people of the sacred language."
In the early 2000's, the Ho-chunk discovered that their "sacred language" was ironically becoming an endangered species.
Of the Ho-Chunk Nation's 6,200 enrolled members, only 250-300 spoke the Ho-chunk language fluently, a Ho-chunk linguist told the Wausau Daily Herald in late 2001. Of those few hundred, most were 45 years or older. That's when the Ho-chunk Nation began programs to save its language.
In 2002, the tribe started three programs designed to revive the Ho-chunk language. One was designed to facilitate an intense language study in small family groups, whereby elders fluent in Ho-chunk would pass along their knowledge of the language to younger students.
Another was designed to encourage conversational Ho-chunk for all age groups. A third program involved the "total immersion" of students in 12 days and 12 nights of nothing but Ho-chunk language and culture.
Today, the Ho-chunk Nation's language revitalization efforts have taken a more technical turn through the development of an iPhone app.
Pray that ASM will get the funding it needs to record the book of John. Ask God to overcome the obstacles that have followed this project.