NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Yale is introducing a new language course that will satisfy the college’s language requirement.

Yale has informally offered Indigenous languages as part of their University’s curriculum for over seven years through the Native American Cultural Center and the Directed Independent Language Study program, but this fall marks the first time that studying one will fulfill the language requirement.

Cherokee language instructor, Patrick DelPercio, who currently teaches at the University of Oklahoma, will join Yale’s faculty to teach a course that focuses on Cherokee language and culture.

“Other home speakers can take heritage language classes at Yale, but not Indigenous students,” Director of Undergraduate Studies of Linguistics Claire Bowern told the News.

“Particularly for Indigenous students, it seemed very out of place that one can do one’s language requirement by studying languages from all around the world… except the Indigenous languages of the Americas.”

As far back as 2018, students and community members have petitioned for Native American languages to be offered as official courses.

“With the wealth of resources and collections here, I can imagine a future where language revitalization, preservation and education can happen if the right care and respect is taken to support tribal-University relations,” said Sandra Sánchez, a PhD candidate and former student of Professor DelPercio.

Sánchez hoped that Yale might in the future form stronger relationships with Native people and communities.

Though the course may not be offered in this month’s course selection process, it will be available in the fall, and will employ a number of University materials.