(Cherokee Language Master/Apprentice Program)

2020 Cohort application now available 

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Deadline to submit an application is October 1, 2019

Applications can be submitted to or mailed to:
Cherokee Nation Language Master/Apprentice Program, P.O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465. 
No late applications will be accepted.
Select applicants will be contacted via email, within three weeks, of the application deadline.


CLMAP Woodpecker logo

The Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program is dedicated to cultivating new Cherokee language teachers using training methods that honor and perpetuate the Cherokee culture and language. We foster an intergenerational approach to language revitalization and preservation to ensure the growth and continuation of the Cherokee language and culture for all generations.


ACTFL Proficiency Levels


The Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program (CLMAP) provides opportunities for individuals to participate in a two year, group Master Apprentice immersion experience, with the expectation of over the course of two years, Language Apprentices receive approximately 3,900 contact hours of Cherokee. Through extended time with Master Cherokee Speakers, language and cultural field trips, Cherokee community involvement, and professional development, Language Apprentices develop the language skills to become Cherokee teachers.

To measure the progress of the participants, the program has adopted the American Council onTeaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. These guidelines present the levels of proficiency as ranges. The guidelines illustrate a person’s language capabilities at each level, in terms of speaking, reading, writing and listening in real-world situations. Using these ACTFL levels, the goal of CLMAP is to move a new Cherokee speaker to the Intermediate High or Advanced Low. Although the ACTFL levels can be applied to many forms of communication, the focus of CLMAP is on conversational usage of Cherokee.

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To develop a base line number of speakers from which to build, the CLMAP staff conducted an informal survey of our Cherokee communities. In 2014, the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice reviewed the number of speakers in each Cherokee community. The survey identified 2,464 Cherokee speakers as fitting the ACTFL guidelines for Advance or higher levels of proficiency in our language. This number is preliminary and we are planning a study using a different methodology to determine the accuracy of this number. If the number of Cherokee speakers is determined to be reliable, it would represent a language speaking population of less than 1% of tribal citizens.

With such a small percentage of tribal citizens speaking ᏣᎳᎩ (Cherokee), a program that increases the population of Cherokee speakers on an exponential level is greatly needed. ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᏫᏒᏍᎩ is achieving that goal.

Currently, the program is available in Tahlequah, Oklahoma with new cohorts forming each January. Cherokee speakers or anyone interested in joining the program is welcome to schedule a visit at anytime.

Interested individuals must meet the following criteria:
- 18 years or older
- Possess a strong desire to aid in the perpetuation of the Cherokee language and culture, through teaching
- Live in or near Tahlequah, Oklahoma or willing to relocate
- Available Monday- Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm

Principal Chief Bill John Baker with 2017 CLMAP graduates and members from the first class of the Cherokee Nation Language Immersion Charter School

The application period for the 2020 CLMAP Cohort will be June 1, 2019- October 1, 2019.
Applications and additional program information are available by request at or online applications can be accessed here during the open period: