Beautiful Beyond: Christian Songs in Native Languages
Language is central to cultural identity. It is the code containing the subtleties and secrets of cultural life. In many ways, language determines thought. It is no accident that the settlers who came to the Americas sought to eliminate Native languages. They felt, I’m sure, that deprived of their languages, Indians would cease to be Indian.
But the Native peoples of this hemisphere, amazingly enough, refused to vanish. We are still here today, and, in spite of numerous cultural losses, many of us still speak in our original tongues. It has become almost commonplace to remark upon the inspirational resilience and adaptability of Native people, who have managed to retain so much of their cultural lives in the face of such longstanding adversity. I think there is an enduring tenacity at the heart of that resilience, a determination to hold on to what is most profoundly meaningful, despite the odds. Thus, on Beautiful Beyond, you will hear a remarkable array of voices and cultures, all testifying to that passionate determination.
Richard West, Jr.
Southern Cheyennne and member of the Cheyenne
and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma
Director, National Museum of the American Indian
On The Beautiful Beyond
Twill Be Glory By And By