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Beautiful Beyond: Christian Songs in Native Languages

A central part of the mission of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is the preservation, perpetuation, and awareness of Native languages. Language preservation has become an urgent matter in Native communities, especially where the number of elders who grew up with their own language is rapidly diminishing. In some of these communities, the singing of Christian hymns is one of the few ways in which the language is still heard on a regular basis.

Several years ago NMAI began a project to document the singing of Christian songs in Native languages. To date, more than twenty-five groups in fifteen communities have been recorded, ...

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