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  • Writer's pictureFrancisco Delgado

For Akso:t (My Grandmother)

This post is a little overdue.

In one way, this refers to the fact that it has been more than two years since my last post. Part of that is due to what has gone in my life: starting and finding my footing at a new job, while trying (always trying) to keep up my young son, he:awak, now four years old. This is not to say that there have been no updates on the website: I have added to the vocabulary pages, although not as much as I would like, as I have acquired new words myself.

Another reason - the more honest reason - for the long break between posts is that I am not very good at keeping up a blog. Ëga:dö’ sa'gwah, I will get better.

Last summer, my grandmother, akso:tgë'ö', passed on. She was the inspiration for this project back when I started it in 2016. As I explained in my first blog, and on the homepage, this project was made possible through a Public Humanities fellowship from Humanities New York. Part of the application was to explain what public your project would serve. I remember writing about the lack of language resources online (true at the time, but not anymore, thanks to the expansive resource offered by the Allegany Language Department) and discussing how the public I imagined serving were individuals off the territories (Allegany, Cattaraugus, and at Tonwanda, which is a separate nation of Seneca from the first two) who wished to learn the language. I'm grateful for the opportunities I have gotten in the past couple years to help people in their studies. Often, I do not know much more than they do, but working together, we have (more often than not) been able to answer their inquiries.

But really, my public was my grandmother.

You may have noticed that how I refer to my grandmother in the title, akso:t, differs from my reference to her in the fourth paragraph, akso:tgë'ö'. The difference - the gë'ö' suffix - demarcates that the person in question is now deceased and, as hard as it remains to write, is the proper way to refer to her going forward. And I will.

In the title of this post, I wanted to refer to her without the suffix one last time, is all.

I am grateful to have had some time with my grandma when we learned together. The project - and my learning of the onödowá’ga:’ gawë:nö’ - will go on. This past fall, I attended a couple of online language classes conducted by Janos Janine Bowen, who is a phenomenal and engaging instructor, and I would like to continue whenever my work and life schedules allow.

Sade:yë:s! Dëjíhnita:ë’! (

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2 comentários

Francisco Delgado
Francisco Delgado
21 de jun. de 2020

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! The term would be pronounced "ah-k-sote." The second syllable is stretched out an extra beat.


Sue Meiris Gaston
Sue Meiris Gaston
21 de jun. de 2020

I will become a grandmother this year. My son & daughter in law asked what would you like the baby to call you? I knew immediately.. my great grandmother was Seneca Indian.. I wanted to be called the Seneca name for grandmother to honor her..Anne Mumma (hoping I spelled her name properly).

How do I say.. Akso:t

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