Native Voices Endowment Recipients - 2019
Virginia Beavert and Sharon Louise Hargus – University of Washington
‘Northwest Sahaptin Textual Transcription and Translation’ – Northwest Sahaptin (ykm)
The current project is a continuation of a project funded in 2010, 2013 and 2016 by Native Voices Endowment (NVE), providing another 3 years of a stipend to Beavert for her time on primarily two activities: (a) bringing to light her mother’s voice on audio recordings (with little or no English) her mother made before her death in1993, (b) bringing to light her own voice, through her writing of original sentence illustrations of new lexical items in her mother’s texts, to be included in a future revised edition of the 2009 Yakima/Yakama Sahaptin bilingual dictionary (Beavert and Hargus 2009). The project has also been supported 2009-2016 and 2018-2019 by the Jacobs Research Funds (JRF), mainly fortravel assistance for project collaborator Sharon Hargus. Beavert and Jansen 2012 listed the remaining number of Sahaptin speakers of any dialect as around 50. However, in Umatilla (a Columbia R. dialect of Sahaptin), according to Noel Rude (e-mail to Sharon Hargus, 4-2-10), ‘All the fluent informants are gone.’ Virginia Beavert is widely acknowledged to be the one of the best of the remaining speakers, and certainly the most qualified to translate her mother (given their shared life experiences).
Aspen Decker – University of Montana
kʷeƛ̓ep Qe Sox̣ʷèp: Revive Our Roots Language Curriculum – Salish Ksanka (sal)
Salish is a highly endangered language, with 17 fluent speakers left, most of whom are over the age of 85. There is an urgent need to teach new speakers for the continuation of Salish language. Endangered Language Fund (ELF) provides an opportunity to record Salish elders to document their Indigenous knowledge and tribal oral stories. It is critical to encourage new language learners among younger generations in order to help revitalize Salish language. Outcomes of this project will include production of video and audio recordings, as well as the creation of a seasonal curriculum focusing on cultural activities such as spring, summer, and fall gathering and harvests, and oral creation stories in the winter. My goal is to empower Salish youth with a strong sense of identity and ultimately to become the next generation of leaders for the Salish people.
The ELF funding will support field trips to prehistorical and sacred sites. The fieldtrips will include gathering of traditional plants, medicines, and material to create Salish tools and will take place six times per year throughout the three-year project. The cultural fieldtrips will be useful observations that will be implementing in the planning of on-site fieldtrips in the Revive Our Roots Language Curriculum. The fieldtrips to traditional sites will help elders remember stories. The participates attending the fieldtrips will build memories of the locations that ultimately lead to a perpetual connection to these sites.
Tammy Decoteau – Dakota Language Institute
Dakota Iapi Project – Dakota (dak)
The Dakota Lapi is the name of our language at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (SWO) of the Lake Traverse Reservation. The SWO is located mainly in northeastern South Dakota with the reservation extending into south eastern North Dakota and borders with Minnesota. Currently, there are 48 with a median age of 81. Therefore, providing learning materials is essential to save the dying Dakota language. This funds from Native Voices Endowment (NVE) allows to buy recording equipment, record sessions, pay the speakers as well as the time for employees to plan, schedule, record, and archive the data. This will lead to the ultimate goal, which is to create materials that are used to teach the language to the younger generation. The funding greatly increases our ability to get as much information as possible while we still can.
Grey Don Johnson – University of Montana
Ktunaxa Interactive Language Learning App – Ktunaxa (kut)
The project of Ktunaxa Interactive Language Learning group proposes a development of the Ktunaxa Interactive Language Learning App, a digitally supported interactive story-based language learning game to practice Ktunaxa vocabulary and phrases in a virtual setting that simulates everyday conversations and embeds the language content in an engaging story and authentic cultural context. This complex project includes elements of curriculum development, story-telling, educational game design, and language documentation. With the support from Native Voices Endowment Grants, this interactive story-based game will introduce basic language skills and materials alongside traditional Ktunaxa story materials, and promote cultural knowledge, awareness, and skills by prompting learners via quests and challenges during gameplay.
Stevey Seymour – Inchelium Language and Culture Association
Advanced Salish Fluency Project – Salish (sal)
Salish (Nsilxcin Dialect) is spoken in Washington, Idaho, and Montana in the US, and in British Colombia, Canada. Utilizing proven second language acquisition techniques to ensure the highest transmission of language possible given time constraints on creating new teachers, the Inchelium Language and Culture Association (ILCA) have had great success in creating new intermediate level speakers. However, within the Inchelium, we have no living native speakers of our language, and this obstacle requires us to rely on elders from other communities to help us develop curriculum and travel to have actual conversations with elders whose first language is Salish. The current project, funded by the Native Voices Endowment Grants, is the second phase of our language revitalization plan, which focuses on creating highly fluent speakers from our new learners. Also, we hired Herman Edward, an elder from the Okanogan tribe to work directly with few speakers in creating deep fluency utilizing tribal deep knowledge and the universal rounds (seasons) to teach these advanced learners in depth language and tribal knowledge.
Nacole Walker and Elliot Bannister – Standing Rock Language and Culture Institute
The Naǧókiyapi Project (“Recording Our Own”) – Dakota (dak) and Lakota (lkt)
The Naǧókiyapi Project (“Recording Our Own”) sets out to create a collection of professional, locally made videos that document the contemporary speech patterns of the last first-language speakers of Lakota and Dakota. Efforts are focused on recording fluent women and any speakers of our unique Dakota dialect, two groups that are both significantly under-represented in the few old texts to which today’s learners currently have access. The project also serves as a platform for Elders to pass on knowledge they believe will help the next generation rediscover who we are as Dakota and Lakota people. Our Elders know stories that have been passed on for centuries: memories from a different age when characters like Iktómi (the trickster spider), Iyá (the giant) and Wazíya (the cold wizard) roamed the earth. These sorts of stories may only be told after sunset, and by recording them in context, we will ensure they live on in the proper way. With the helpd from the Native Voices Endowment Grants, this project serves as a valuable record of twenty-first century Dakota/Lakota Elder knowledge for generations to come before this valuable knowledge is lost forever.