EUFAULA, Okla. – The Eighth Annual Mvskoke Spelling Bee Competition will take place on Sept 16 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Eufaula Community Center.
The contest is for children of all ages, but anyone who wants exposure to the Mvskoke language is welcome. Last year the event had close to 40 people in attendance and featured 6 to 8 contestants. Judith Pickering with the Eufaula-Canadian Tribal Town said, “It’s open to anyone to come, even if they just want to hear the language.”
The spelling bee is a partnership between the Mvskoke Language Preservation Program, and the Eufaula-Canadian Tribal Town. The laid back, family friendly community event is “mostly for people to hear the language and have fun,” according to Mvhayv Becky Barrnet with the Mvskoke Language Program.
The spelling bee is an activity designed for community fellowship and encouragement. Of its inception Pickering stated, “It was something that we felt would encourage people to learn the language and to read and to write the language. And that’s one reason we started this eight years ago, preserving the language, and that’s one way we felt like it would be beneficial to our younger people. Always encourage people to get involved”
But even with prize money topping out at $300 for first place, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place, there’s much more to the event than just the competition. “It’s pretty big prize money but when you’re talking about the language, language is priceless.” Barnett said.
Language preservation and instruction is a common activity for the Eufaula community where a monthly Mvskoke language class takes place at the West Eufaula Indian Baptist Church. The next meeting will take place Sept. 23 at 11 a.m.
For a word list study guide and a copy of the rules, those interested can contact 918-732-7725 or 918-689-6173. More information can be found at the Eufaula-Canadian Tribal Town Facebook page.