The preservation and perpetuation of language is one of the most important aspects of cultural survival. The Cherokee language is spoke today by some 10,000 Cherokees who reside in northeastern Oklahoma and by at least 1,000 Cherokees living in the vicinity of Cherokee, North Carolina. Cherokee is related to the Northern Iroquoian language, which includes Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, and Seneca-Cayuga.
Many Cherokees speak their ancestral language in their homes, at churches and at Cherokee stomp grounds. More than 150 years after the Trail of Tears, Cherokee remains one of the most widely spoken Native American languages. To ensure the preservation of the Cherokee language and culture, the Cherokee Nation supports and provides numerous bilingual education programs.