Unkechaug Nation Chief Harry Wallace with a copy of a...

Unkechaug Nation Chief Harry Wallace with a copy of a Native American word list made by Thomas Jefferson. It's part of the Algonquian Language Revitalization Project at Stony Brook University. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Language a sacred asset for all cultures

More than once, I’ve been asked, “Do you speak Indian?” It’s like asking, “Do you speak European?”

It’s estimated that over 500 Indigenous languages and dialects were spoken in North America before the arrival of the first Europeans “Algonquian, reclaimed,” LI Life, Nov. 12].

Unfortunately, due to the efforts of our government, missionaries and other organizations, many Indian languages were lost over the centuries.

However, several government programs have been implemented to help revitalize Indian languages and cultures, as well as improve educational opportunities within Native American and Alaska Native communities.

As with all cultures, language is a vital asset and is sacred. It defines who people are, where they came from, and their value systems.

These programs will produce new generations of Indian speakers who will encourage others to learn the Indigenous languages. It will be celebrated and revitalized.

— Chet Lukaszewski, Huntington

The writer taught a high school American Indian Studies course.

Wind projects need to get things going

It is to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s credit that after causing major offshore wind projects to derail, she is trying to get them back on track as quickly as possible [“New wind projects facing increased cost scrutiny,” News, Nov. 6].

Having these same developers re-bid in an economically feasible manner would save redoing years of preparation, including construction in process.

Could different companies make more attractive bids? It’s possible, but the longer these projects take to go into effect, the longer it will take for us to see energy cost savings from them.

Transitioning from Long Island’s principally gas-powered electric grid to a clean one cuts the risks of pollution to our health and environment, both costly.

Of course, developers aren’t going to help us meet our climate goals out of the goodness of their hearts. Their companies do have to make a profit. But they can do that while we enjoy the net savings of clean energy.

— Morgan McLenan, Freeport

Election Day always brings out complaints

It seems that every year, people write in complaining that there’s no security, that they could have voted several times, they had no privacy, and we should have electronic voting [“Concerns about the voting process on LI,” Letters, Nov. 13]. Part of me agrees with the last idea — it would be easier, but we use paper because they can be counted again if there are questions.

For privacy, each voter can ask for or take a privacy sleeve at the ballot table, though few do.

Regarding possibly signing in as different people, the inspectors who check you in — after you sign with the stylus — do compare your signature with the one on record. And, as noted, you don’t get to sign in until you provide your name and address. You can’t vote more than once.

As for Democratic committee mailings advising that a person had not voted in three years, I don’t like it, but you can avoid that by checking in on Election Day and leaving your ballot blank. Follow instructions on the scanner screen to submit your blank ballot, and now you’ve voted without actually choosing anyone or anything.

— Ron Troy, East Northport

Several letters [Opinion, Nov. 13], as well as Matt Davies’ cartoon of Nov. 10, focus on the low turnout of Democrats this past Election Day in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

I would put the blame squarely on Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who apparently was missing in action in this year’s campaigns.

Based on the mail I received, Republicans outspent Democrats on mailings alone by 10-1. It’s time for better leadership, especially when the Republicans are giving the Democrats so many issues on which to build winning campaigns.

— Denis O’Driscoll, Westbury

Matt Davies’ cartoon was right on the mark. What is going on with Long Island Democrats? It was a low Democratic turnout last year, and most didn’t turn out again this year. Democrats here should wake up. If they want a democracy, they had better vote in every election.

— Sherri Levinson, Great Neck

Regents exams help to evaluate teachers

Part of the output of the students’ Regents exams is seeing how well teachers are performing [“Lesser role for Regents exams,” News, Nov. 14]. If students get too many below-average grades, perhaps a teacher needs further evaluation. What will be the substitute for this aspect as students are offered options?

— Michael Lefkowitz, East Meadow

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