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Photo: Bilingual Pledge

US Pledge of Allegiance via Flickr

March 2005 saw me in Barrow, Alaska for the 2005 Alaska Library Association conference. I think every Alaskan should visit Barrow at some point in their lives. There is a beauty there simply not transmittable in photographs. The conference was held at a number of venues in Barrow, including a few schools.

The picture here is the Pledge of Allegiance in English, Inupiat, and “phonetic Inupiat.” The signs are bilingual in an effort to revive the Inupiat language, mostly spoken by elders.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the Pledge of Allegiance as an official state sponsored recitation is relatively new in American history. George Washington never recited the Pledge. Neither did Franklin, Adams, Jefferson or any of the other Founders. President Lincoln, despite his love for the Union, never recited the Pledge. It just didn’t exist back then.

No formal Pledge of Allegiance was written down until 1892 and it wasn’t formally adopted by Congress until 1942, during World War II.  The words “Under God” are a 1954 addition. You can read the Pledge’s history at the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at http://www.wvsd.uscourts.gov/outreach/Pledge.htm.

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this. I love the photo and your history lesson as well. It is always good to reinforce and support indegenous cultures.

  2. Very cool!

  3. Carolyn and DiAnn. Thanks for your kind words.

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