Issuu on Google+

NILI Northwest Indian Language Institute

2 Director Welcome 3 Staff / Student Profiles 4 Dr. Virginia Beavert 6 Fithian Gift 7 NILI Poster 8 Eunice Bommelyn Tribute 9 Graduate Student Profile 10 NILI Collaborative Projects 14 NILI Summer Institute 2012 15 Use Simple Conversations to Get Your Learners Talking 16 Thank You Donors 1629 Moss Street University of Oregon Eugene, OR 97403 Phone: 541-346-0730 Fax: 541-346-6086

Summer / Fall 2012


Welcome from the Director What a fruitful year this is proving to be for the Northwest Indian Language Institute! The summer could not have been richer in activities, the highlights of which were an expanding Summer Institute that included participants from Alaska and Hawai’i, and Virginia Beavert’s graduation and oral defense celebrations. We are very fortunate that Virginia decided to stay at UO to continue teaching Ichishkiin, this year in a distance learning format, and to continue her research to expand her dissertation. Other NILI students graduated this summer, and have moved on to other programs at UO. Marnie Atkins received her master’s degree from the Native Language Teacher Specialization Program and is now a PhD student in Anthropology. We wish her the best in her new GTF position with UO’s Ethnic Studies Department. Linguistics graduate Cassy George is taking courses this year to enter UO’s School of Education. Cassy is also teaching Lushootseed distance learning courses at the World Language Academy at UO with Zalmai Zahir, also a Linguistics PhD student. Our projects continue to grow and connect us with more tribal communities and speakers for which we are deeply appreciative. Tribes are requesting more technical support which has allowed us to hire Robert Elliott to design curricular based web sites and interactive language materials. Robert is heading up Ichishkiin distance learning, NILI’s distance teacher training programs, and NILI’s web based projects. Together with Judith Fernandes, Jaeci Hall assisted in developing NILI Summer Institute teacher curriculum. She also created a collection of illustrations for Chinuk Wawa literary arts materials which significantly enhances Grand Ronde’s immersion curriculum for future generations. We would like to acknowledge and thank Jaeci for all she brought to NILI. When you call the NILI office a new voice will greet you. Pyuwa Bommelyn is NILI’s administrative GTF this year. Using his undergraduate degree and years of experience in graphic design, Pyuwa will be putting a new look to NILI’s website, newsletter and outreach materials and enhancing NILI’s curriculum. Our talented students are inspiring us to commit to their aspiration to leave English behind and to speak more Ichishkiin, Lushootseed, Tolowa and Chinuk Wawa, so we are following their footsteps and taking the plunge! There will be dedicated areas of NILI where you will find us speaking these languages. In this way, they are able to extend their languages outside of their homes and into the community they live in. Where better a place to start than NILI! Please, come join us!

Wishing you and those dear to you happy holidays, Janne Underriner Art by Jaeci Hall

2 NILI - The Northwest Indian Language Institute


NILI Staff Profile - Robert Elliott An ESL language teacher and language teacher trainer for over 15 years, Robert specializes in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and online education. He has been developing class websites since 1997, teaching online classes for many years and has developed two online courses for inservice teachers: Project Based Learning (PBL) and Webskills. You may recognize our newest member of the NILI team, Robert Elliott. Robert has been working with NILI Summer Institute since arriving at the University of Oregon in 2007 from California. Now he is able to bring his skills and interests to NILI year round.

Robert enjoys using and sharing freely available technology tools and applications, such as Google tools, and repurposing technology applications made for business or general users, turning them into language tools. Another area of interest is digital video. For example,

Robert has been using digital filming for teachers in training since 2000, and has also worked on several film projects to complement online learning classes, such as the PBL course mentioned above. His latest endeavor in social learning has been in helping language groups develop a Facebook overlay so as to have a complete Facebook experience in a native language. Robert would be happy to talk about this or other project ideas with you.

NILI Student Profile- Cassy George Cassy George, Suquamish tribal member, is a student and teacher of Lushootseed. She has been involved with the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) since 2009 when she first attended NILI’s Summer Institute. Before attending NILI she learned Lushootseed in community classes that included family members of all ages. She started teaching and planning lessons at the age of 17, teaching beginning classes and moving on to teach advanced classes. As part of her growth as a learner and teacher, she decided to attend NILI’s Summer Institute, where she came to realize that she could work on Lushootseed full time. She then

decided to change her goal of becoming a lawyer and came to UO to study linguistics. This gave her the opportunity to work on her Lushootseed fluency with Zalmai Zahir who is also attending UO. She recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and currently she is taking prerequisite classes to enter into the Sapsik’walá Masters in Education program for American Indians. Along with attending classes she is teaching a Lushootseed language class. Her goal is to complete the

Sapsik’walá program, return home and create a non-profit that will allow her to create an immersion school for Lushootseed. The immersion school would follow students from kindergarten through six grade.

UO The University of Oregon 3


Dr. Virginia Beavert

Dr. Virginia Beavert’s graduation and dissertation defense were the highlights of early summer. We are honored to have shared these events with her. Graduation Day, June 18th began with the University Graduation Celebration at Matthew Knight Arena. The celebration included a special commemoration of Virginia as UO’s oldest-ever graduate. As a member of the platform party, Virginia joined university dignitaries and student speakers on the main stage. Robert Berdahl, Interim President, introduced Virginia as “a long-time friend of the university through her sustained involvement in the Northwest Indian Language Institute, and she continues to

inspire those who work with her through her example of dedication and perseverance.” Kimberley Espy, Vice President of Research and Innovation and Dean of the Graduate School, presented Virginia with a distinctive medal recognizing her outstanding service and achievement as a Distinguished Doctoral Graduate. Following graduation was a luncheon reception to honor Virginia, hosted by the Graduate School. Virginia’s family and friends joined her UO colleagues, tribal dignitaries, professors, and students. Several of Virginia’s nieces were in attendance. Her nephew, Delano Saluskin, Yakama Nation Councilman, spoke of the immeasurable significance of Virginia’s work for tribal members. The day’s formal graduation festivities concluded outdoors at the Deschutes Courtyard for the Linguistics Department ceremony. Virginia was one of four graduating doctoral students who were distinguished by presenting short descriptions

4 NILI - The Northwest Indian Language Institute

of their research. A reception for friends and family members followed. An evening salmon dinner at the Northwest Indian Language Institute ended the day. Virginia’s oral defense took place on Saturday July 14 at 10:00 a.m. at the UO’s Many Nations Longhouse. After Virginia presented an overall picture of her dissertation, her five committee members - Scott DeLancey, Spike Gildea, and Eric Pederson, Linguistics; Scott Pratt, Philosophy; and Janne Underriner, Northwest Indian Language Institute, questioned her on aspects of her work. One committee member asked Virginia to elaborate on ways non-Native researchers should work with Native people; how linguists can better work with community members and to discuss the protocols and etiquette expected by Native people in working with nonNatives. Virginia’s answer centered around the principles of knowledge and respect: “Culture is an essential part of language. One without the other cannot function. The researcher must respect the language and culture of the people he or she works with. Tribal communities are liable to welcome a person who is comfortable around tribal people. Maintain an awareness of protocol and ask your resource person to keep you


informed and educated about how to behave.” After Virginia was declared “Dr. Virginia Beavert” a celebratory meal followed that included both traditional and non-traditional foods. Members of the Yakama Nation provided salmon, deer meat, and roots, and these foods were introduced as at a traditional feast. Other foods were provided by Virginia’s friends and colleagues at UO. Upwards of 85 people attended the defense and meal, many of whom offered Virginia thanks and accolades following the meal. Her students and community members also presented songs and performed the Swan Dance. Virginia closed her dissertation with these words and it seems appropriate to share them here: “Láakna myánashmaman átiiskawkta íchɨnki ku pmách’a awkú tun anakúsh

wapíitat pa’aníta íx̠wi, laak pápawapiitata awkú tɬ’ápx̠i pawáta tunx̠túnx̠.” “Maybe if we call attention to the young generation they might also help make things better, maybe they will all help each other even though they are of different races.” “Ku átaw iwá Ichishkíin sɨ ́nwit. Aw ttuush tiinmamí Ichishkíin sɨ ́nwit álaamna míimi, awkɬáw mɨ ́laamna anakúsh panápayuuna piimínk Ichishkíin sɨ ́nwit, ku panaknúwya piimipáynk

nisháyktpa, piimipáynk tɨmnápa, kunkínk ḵwaat anakúsh papíkshana tiináwit. Kunkínk nash ínch’a ḵkanáywisha íkushkink kútkutki.” “And our Indian language is important. Some people’s Indian language disappeared a long time ago, and only a few are still defending their Indian language, and they kept it in their home and in their heart, that is how they held onto their heritage. For that reason, I pursue this work.”

We would like to express our gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the Fithian Family for including NILI in their vision of the University of Oregon. Dr. Taylor Fithian and his family’s gift, given to honor Virginia Beavert’s work and contributions to the world, will further NILI’s work in Ichishkiin, distance learning, and teacher training. Their gift will make a substantial impact on NILI’s ability to further these projects and to reach out to tribal language learners and teachers. Thank you Taylor and Margie and family. UO The University of Oregon 5


Fithian Gift from the start. Years ago, Beavert was a jockey, and they share a love for horses. As a member of the Women’s Army Corps in World War II, she helped land airplanes. Fithian is a pilot.

What inspires a gift? The reasons are as diverse as the donors who give them. For Dr. Taylor Fithian ’66, the inspiration to give $250,000 to the UO’s Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) began in New Mexico more than four decades ago. And it culminated in a friendship with the UO’s oldest-ever graduate. A psychiatrist and emergency room physician, Dr. Fithian earned his UO biology degree in 1966. He is president and medical director of California Forensic Medical Group, the first privately owned West Coast provider of health care to correctional facilities.

But it was Beavert’s wisdom and commitment to preserving endangered languages that inspired Fithian’s a big difference. For instance, NILI has been able to fund a new transformational gift. distance education initiative for “Languages are national Sahaptin-speaking communities, treasures,” says Fithian. “Once a including the Yakama Nation language is lost, you can never in Washington, as well as the get it back. It’s like a species.” Confederated Tribes of Warm Fithian’s wife, Margie, Springs and the Confederated teaches prekindergarten in Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Monterey, California. “Language Reservation, both in Oregon. represents culture for young Fithian’s interest in Native American health began in the 1970s, when he was in medical school. As an extern working in the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, New Mexico, he worked with many Taos Pueblo and Navajo patients.

Decades later, Fithian met Underriner, who shared “We’ve never received a gift her vision for NILI. She also this large,” says NILI Director introduced him to Virginia Janne Underriner. “It’s exciting. Beavert, PhD ’12, an elder of the Now we get to dream about what Yakama Nation who is dedicated the next steps could be. We are to NILI’s mission. so grateful.” Last spring, Beavert received NILI was created at the University of Oregon in 1997 as an answer to tribal requests for Native language teacher training. The institute works to preserve and restore Indian languages— training language teachers and reaching out to tribal communities. The gift is already making

her doctorate in linguistics at the age of ninety. She speaks six Native languages, has written a Yakama Sahaptin dictionary, and is currently working on a second edition. “It was an honor to meet her,” says Fithian. “And I consider it a privilege to call her a friend.” The two hit it off

6 NILI - The Northwest Indian Language Institute

people,” she says. “For instance, speaking these languages enables children to interact with their elders. NILI is working to preserve not only languages, but also cultures.” —Ed Dorsch -article was first published in Oregon

Outlook : News for and about People Suporting the University of Oregon. Fall 2012


Poster created by Mercedes Vasquez and Rex Buck III while attending NILI 2012 Summer Institute


Eunice Xash-wee-tes-na Henry Bommelyn (Feb. 6, 1927– April 2, 2012)

Eunice Xash-wee-tes-na Bommelyn, respected and beloved elder and first speaker of Tolowa Dee-ni, passed away this past spring on April 23, 2012. Xashwee-tes-na was the last of the first speakers of Tolowa Dee-ni. Eunice was reared in the traditions of her people. She lived her life at the village of Nii~-lii~chvn-dvn on the Smith River and spent her young life at smelt camp, deer hunting camp and salmon fishing. As the years passed she ensured that the annual practice of camping at the beach and drying smelt was never broken, from time immemorial to now. Her summers included large gardens and plenty of canning for the winter stores. She is the youngest of nine siblings and the only one to graduate in 1947 from Del Norte High School, where she loved to play sports.

for the Indian Teacher and Educational Personnel Program at Humboldt State University, Title VII, United Indian Health Services, the California Rural Indian Health Board, the Northern California Indian Development Council, the Inter-Tribal Council of California, the Redwood League, the Live Your Language Alliance, Master Apprentice Program through Advocates of Indigenous California Language Survival, Northwest Indian Language Institute, among others. She was active with many tribal and committee appointments on such issues as Culture, Language, Enrollment, Constitution, Indian Child Welfare, and Housing and served as a UIHS Board Member and served on the Traditional Health, Community Health and Wellness, Conservation Easement Management Advisory, Self Determination and Patient Registration for over 40 years.

to visit with all the many people she encountered from around the world. Many people have had the joy of meeting this great lady in one way or another; she was a spitfire to put it mildly, never hesitating to put you in your place or joke with you. Eunice was friendly and spoke with all people as if she had known them for years. One of her greatest contributions was to initiate the revitalization and restoration of Taa-laa-wa Dee-ni Wee-ya`, as that was her first language. She spent many years working with her family and teaching those who were interested. She has been an invaluable resource and language teacher for the documentation of the language for future generations. -excerpts of Eunice’s obituary written by Loren Me’-lash-ne Bommelyn were used for this article

Eunice wasn’t one to sit idle. Her philosophy on work was, “Get up with the sun, because people die in bed.” Not surprisingly, she didn’t retire from the last of her paying jobs, driving van for the hospitality house at the prison, until the age of 80. What Eunice loved most about her job was the opportunity it afforded her

Eunice spent her lifetime in service and protection of tribal rights in many institutions. Eunice played a fundamental role in the Del Norte County Indian Welfare Association, the Smith River Indian Shaker Church, and in organizing and advocating All photos courtesy of Eunice’s family

8 NILI - The Northwest Indian Language Institute


Gradute Student Profile - Marnie Atkins It’s a blustery fall day that promises rain as Marnie sits in her cubicle in Condon Hall and reminisces about her days working at the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) and her time in the Native Language Teaching Specialization Program (NLTS). The cubicle is a different atmosphere from the warmth and hominess of NILI. When asked about her time working at NILI she says, “I miss it. The people at NILI are strong advocates for revitalizing Native languages.” Marnie Atkins, who began working in 2009 as the Associate Director for InField 2010, had her office at NILI. After completing InField 2010, Marnie became the GTF Administrative Assistant for NILI and helped to organize the 2011 and 2012 Summer Institutes. “It was a great match,” she says. “I used my organizing skills to help with annual Summer Institutes and to support NILI staff in the important work they do. NILI staff gives so much of their time, energy, knowledge, and commitment to revitalize/ reclaim Native American languages and I wanted to be part of the team.” Marnie worked at NILI until this past summer when she graduated and received her master’s in NLTS. “The NLTS is helpful to me because now I’m able to create better Native language teaching materials and lesson plans, and, hopefully, be a better language teacher.” Marnie describes her final

project as “a self-apprentice language teaching program.” Elaborating, she says, “It’s a language learning model for people who are working to reclaim their ancestral language from written and/or recorded materials. It’s my hope that people who are reviving a sleeping language, or who are learning their ancestral language far from their homelands, will be able to use the model to self-teach their language.” Her next steps are to revise the final project in order to make it more user-friendly and then see if there are language learnersteachers who would be willing to implement the model in their own language learning. As Marnie was finishing her final terms in the NLTS she applied to and was accepted into the Cultural Anthropology PhD program at UO. Marnie shares that her first term has been challenging and different from previous academic work. “Right now, I’m learning about anthropological theories. But, for me, cultural anthropology isn’t about theories. It’s about the perpetuation of indigenous lifeways, languages, cultures, practices, and beliefs. I don’t want to study people, I want to learn from and collaborate with indigenous peoples. And, as a Native person myself, I strive to bring an indigenous voice and advocacy to anthropological studies.”

and personal time. Her intense studies in the PhD Program and work duties as a GTF in the Ethnic Studies Department leave little free time, but she strives for balance. When asked how she likes to spend her free time she laughs and says, “What free time?!” Then, more seriously, “I enjoy reading for pleasure, watching movies, walking my dog, and attending plays. I recently saw Arsenic and Old Lace at the Very Little Theatre with a friend. It was great!” As Marnie leaves her cubicle for a graduate workshop wearing her overstuffed backpack, it brings to mind a pack horse geared for a long trip. “It’s a long day today. I have papers to grade, a workshop to attend, and reading to finish for classes next week. I just tell my friends, ‘If you want to get together with me, we’ll have to schedule an appointment!’” To those interested, Marnie says she has some free time between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. every other Thursday. -kił

Marnie’s new journey has had other challenges, too - namely, balancing academics, work, UO The University of Oregon 9


NILI’s 2012-13 Collaborative Projects Throughout the year, we are privileged to work with tribes and organizations on various short and long term projects. We very much appreciate being invited to be a part of this kind of work, and we learn and grow through these collaborative efforts. Here are some of this year’s projects:

Administration for Native Americans Tribal Projects Chahta Anno̱pa Isht A̱ya This year, NILI staff have begun working with team members from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on their recently-funded ANA project, Chahta Anno̱pa Isht A̱ya. The project goal is to train and certify Choctaw language instructors and produce language learning materials for teaching Choctaw language learning standards, with a focus on pre-k and elementary school learners in Choctaw Tribal Schools. NILI will partner with the language program and offer support for the objectives of creating language learning curriculum and teaching materials, and training language teachers. NILI will also work with the project team in evaluating the project. Teachers in the project will also attend NILI’s Summer Institute.

Chinuk Wawa Immersion K-1 Program This is year 2 of working with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde on their most recent ANA project focused on the development of place and culture based language immersion curriculum for their immersion K-1 program. Judith Fernandes is the lead curriculum developer and teacher trainer on the project, and her goal for this project is to create a literary arts program based on the stories of elder Eula Petite. Some of the stories’ topics have become units in themselves, for example, bears, beavers, elk, birds and frogs. Units contain math, science and language arts lessons in Chinuk Wawa. Seven new place and culture based units will be created each year based on language arts, math and science. NILI is also supporting teachers with trainings in teaching methods, assessment and curriculum writing and working with the language program to continue certifying Chinuk Wawa teachers.

10 NILI - The Northwest Indian Language Institute

Dee-ni’ Wee-ya’ Xwee-nish We have begun year 2 of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Wee-ya’ Teacher Certification (TTC) Program. The assessment consists of teacher and learner standards with an assessment tool, and we are developing teaching curriculum to accompany the standards. This will allow the Tribe to implement the Tribal Dee-ni’ Wee-ya’ Xwee-nish (“The Dee-ni’ Language Lives”) Project. This project is essential to Smith River Rancheria as it will allow their Tolowa teachers to become certified Taa-laawa language teachers under the State of California’s new American Indian languages Credential Assembly Bill 544 (AB544, January 1, 2010). The project has a larger scope as it will assist Coastal Athabaskan speaking tribes in both California and Oregon, and will be held as a model for all (California) tribal language programs.


NILI’s 2012-13 Collaborative Projects National Science Foundation Documenting Endangered Languages Projects

The Tolowa Athabaskan Lexicon and Text Collection Project: Recording the Last Speakers of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Language

families and learners of Tolowa in the home. It provides a model for learners of other endangered languages.

Ichishkiin/Sahaptin: Language documentation of Yakama natural and cultural resources

This year our NSFDocumenting Endangered Languages (DEL) funded documentation project has come to its end. It has resulted in an audio and written catalogue of Tolowa Dee-ni’ language materials, and has developed a database whose output this year will become a dictionary with accompanying sound files. It was a collaboration between the Del Norte County Unified School District and NILI, and the Smith River Rancheria Tolowa Dee-ni’ Tribe. It has also supported Pyuwa Bommelyn, Tolowa second-language learner, speaker and teacher to complete his masters in Native Language Teaching Specialization (2011) and begin a doctoral program in linguistics.

Because of his involvement in the project, Pyuwa presented on Tolowa Language Revitalization efforts at the 2012 Athabaskan (Dene) language conference. His presentation focused on the two sides of language revitalization - language documentation and language learning. In addition to speaking about linguistic documentation of Tolowa Dee-ni’, Pyuwa discussed language teaching and learning strategies in the Tolowa Deeni’ community. This included the Tolowa Master Apprentice programs; Accelerated Second Language Acquisition methods and communicative language strategies in Del Norte High School, and he introduced the concept of Reclaiming Domains, work the Northwest Indian Language Institute is focusing on which includes language learning in the home as well as in language classes.

We are moving in to year 2 of this Yakama Ichiishkiin documentation project. The importance of Yakama natural and cultural resources, and all that their Yakama names represent, is expanded upon and reinforced in the Yakama language by elders through recollections, stories, songs and ceremonies. The project documents the knowledge of the elders in their own language. It is a collaboration between the Yakama Nation Division of Natural Resources and NILI. We are recording elders speaking to the broad themes of places and cultural and natural resource management and preservation within the Yakama Nation; transcribing, and translating these recordings, and at the end of the project we will have produced a digital and paper catalogue of Yakama natural resources, including places, plants, animals, fish, birds, and insects significant to Yakamas. This work will support and strengthen natural and cultural resource management and add to efforts to teach and preserve Ichishkiin.

In addition to recording new material, the project took inventory of existing recordings and creating a searchable database with speaker names, time indexes, and summaries. This work supports Tolowa language and culture preservation, and will provide rich sources that teachers can use to develop classroom materials. Pyuwa’s master’s project, Dee-ni’ Mee-ne’ Weeya’ Lhetlh-xat: Dee-ni’ Home Language Class, also a product of the project, supports Tolowa

Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of the project is that it contains the final recordings of the last fluent speakers of Tolowa Dee-ni’, Margaret Dee-’ishlh-ne Brooks and Eunice Xash-wee-tes-na Bommelyn. The project is a tribute to both Tolowa elders as they both passed during the project.

UO The University of Oregon 11


NILI’s 2012-13 Collaborative Projects Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

National Endowment for the Arts Native Language Arts Apprenticeship Program This project, focused on Grand Ronde Basketry and the Chinuk Wawa language, is a collaboration between the Oregon Folklife Network at UO, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and NILI. The project integrates revitalizations of language and weaving traditions, and brings heritage language speakers and traditional basket weavers together to teach Grand Ronde basketry traditions and weaving in the Chinuk Wawa language. The project includes curriculum development that will result in materials for all ages. It will also document the revitalization successes and challenges at Grand Ronde. The project’s materials will be made available at NILI’s, OFN’s and Grand Ronde’s web sites.

Ichishkiin Culture and Language as Protective Factors: A Foundation of Wellness This project is a collaboration between NILI, the Yakama Nation Language Program, the Yakama Reservation Wellness Coalition, and three school districts on the Yakama Nation. The goal of the program is to increase self-esteem, cultural pride and drug and alcohol free lifestyles in our YN at-risk teenagers. With tribal teachers and NILI Summer Institute students, the team is developing culture-based curriculum centered around traditional foods and nutrition, longhouse protocol and legends that link powerful moral lessons with sites on the Reservation. This fall we administered our evaluation measure at two high schools in Toppenish, Washington – EAGLE and the Yakama Nation Tribal School’s high school - which was developed by the team last year. It assesses the effectiveness of language and cultural teachings in preventing drug and alcohol abuse among Native youth and it looks at the relationship between language and cultural teaching and increased selfesteem and self-worth in Native youth. We will begin developing an Ichishkiin language measure this year.

12 NILI - The Northwest Indian Language Institute

The Takelma Language Restoration Project This overall project will result in materials that will teach basic Takelma vocabulary and grammar to interested members of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. The currently available materials are publications and notes from more than a century ago, collected by linguist Edward Sapir. Sapir worked with Mrs. Frances Johnson, a Takelma speaker, in 1906. Sapir’s work was intended purely as a basis for linguistic research, with no thought that anyone might ever want to use it as a practical guide to the language. Our primary task for this phase of the project is to reorganize Sapir’s materials into an organized, searchable database. The major activities of the first phase of the project will be to create a useable spelling system for the language; convert Takelma words, sentences, and stories in Sapir’s materials into this system and enter them into a linguistic software package; prepare a few sample teaching modules as examples of what kinds of things can be done with the database. We are happy to partner with the Tribe to bring this language to a new generation of learners and speakers.


NILI’s 2012-13 Collaborative Projects NILI Distance Education Initiative Beginning Fall 2012, NILI has been involved in a Distance Education (DE) initiative. The goal of this work is to develop a sustainable model of Native language teaching and Native teacher training using video conferencing, online openly available course-sites, as well as other web centered applications. Based on surveys and interviews with past NILI Summer Institute participants, and thanks to the generous funding from the Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and the Fithian Family Foundation , the project is now up and running, addressing the needs of the communities NILI serves. As part of the start-up of work on this initiative, NILI is currently planning a DE class bringing the various dispersed Sahaptin/Ichishkiin speaking communities together from Yakama, Warm Springs and Umatilla. These communities will join undergraduate students learning 2nd year Ichishkiin at the University of Oregon. The class, team taught by Virginia Beavert and Joana Jansen, includes virtual visits from language teachers and speakers who normally would not be able to take part due to distance. Blending the UO’s second year class with Heritage University’s first year class taught by Greg Sutterlict on the Yakama Nation

Chinuk Wawa Distance Education Program is another DE element that would not have been possible in the past. “We are creating a community of learners that bridges the traditional boundaries of the classroom,” says Robert Elliott, the project’s producer. Among other unusually rich opportunities, students will have a chance to visit the Yakama Nation this fall and other sites over the year. “This is a unique chance to bring the teaching of the language into and onto the lands where it was traditionally spoken,” says Dr. Jansen. Dr. Virginia Beavert has long dreamed of this opportunity to bring Ichishkiin language learners and speakers together. The technology is finally ready to make her dream a reality.

The Chinuk Wawa language program supported by Lane Community College, in Eugene, is a collaboration between Lane, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and NILI. In its sixth year, the program serves UO, Lane and Portland State undergraduate and graduate students, and also community members on the Grand Ronde Reservation and in the Portland and Eugene areas with 100 and 200 level classes. All of the instructional staff are connected to the language program at Grand Ronde and to NILI and are committed to the revitalization of Chinuk Wawa as a lingua-franca of the Northwest. We hope to develop a third year self-study of Chinuk Wawa studies in texts, grammar and conversation at the World Languages Academy at UO for Fall 2013.

NILI Summer Institute 2013 Weeks 1 & 2 June 17th through June 28th Week 3 June 28th through July 2nd

UO The University of Oregon 13


2012 NILI Summer Institute Seventeen participants attended Summer Institute this year representing tribes and communities in Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawai’i. NILI’s theme centered on language in the home with the focus being conversations at breakfast and in the kitchen. We believe that if we begin our day using our languages, we are more apt to continue using it throughout the day. Following the Summer Institute, for the first time NILI offered a stand alone third week of intensive teacher training. Eleven teachers from the Northwest attended. We are expanding Summer Institute 2013 to include classes for high school students. In addition to studying linguistics and language, they will develop computer based language materials and videos.

14 NILI - The Northwest Indian Language Institute


Use Simple Conversations To Get Your Learners Talking This summer at the NILI Summer Institute we featured the concept of using simple conversations as the basis for developing curriculum. We hoped that by practicing these conversations, folks would begin to speak to one another in their languages about everyday events. Our focus was on conversation at the breakfast table. It doesn’t have to be breakfast. It could be conversations in the Longhouse, while root digging, hunting, fishing or playing games, etc. Anything is possible. 1) The key is to start small with perhaps four to five lines of talking.

Person A: Where are you going?

Person B: I’m going to the store. Do you want anything?

Person A: I want rice and milk.

Person B: Come with me.

Person A: OK. I’ll get my purse.

2) It is important to limit the complexity of sentence structure to the level of your language learners.

The example above would be for students who have learned some basic vocabulary and verbs.

3) The dialogue should also be flexible so that it can be personalized. The bold italicized words in the example above can be replaced with other words. “I want rice and milk” could become “I want coffee and potatoes.”

“I’ll get my purse” could become “I’ll get my coat or keys.”

Practice To get your language learners speaking, break them into pairs. One learner will take the role of Person A, and the other, Person B. Then they switch roles. When they feel comfortable talking without looking at the written dialogue, ask them to personalize the conversation by changing key words. To make the task more challenging, ask your students to change the initial question from “Where are you going?” to “Where is he, she, they, we, you plural going?” As you can see, one simple conversation can go many directions in the language learning process. To see the “What’s for Breakfast?” conversational curriculum, contact jfern@uoregon.edu.

Art by Jaeci Hall

UO The University of Oregon 15


Thank you

NILI could not do the work we do without your generous support. This year NILI donors supported: Scholarships - For 6 Summer Institute participants Research and outreach -4 members of NILI’s staff presented papers at the 19th Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Conference in Kamloops, British Columbia Trainings - Robert delivered computer assisted language learning and teacher trainings to language teachers at the Yakama Nation and at Smith River Rancheria Graduate student research - Marnie studied at the Breath of Life Conference in Berkeley

Advocacy - Joana served as a linguistic resource at the Breath of Life Conference in Berkeley

Please consider a gift that could honor you or your family and contribute to language revitalization. A gift to NILI supports the languages, cultures and history of the Northwest and beyond. Together we can support our most precious heritage. We extend a heartfelt thanks to:

Aikens Family

Dr. Taylor Fithian and Family

Smith River Rancheria

Ms. Virginia Beavert

Mrs. Robin Jaqua

Ms. Lynne Bonnett

Mr. Bryan Mercier

Ms. Linda Danielson

Mr. Andrew C. Miller, Jr. and Mary Keller Miller

University of Oregon, Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion

Meer Deiters and Tom Faxon Mr. Dave Easly

Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe

University of Oregon, Office for Research, Innovation, and Graduate Education

I would like to contribute to the Northwest Indian Language Institute, fund 20-6150. Name:___________________________________________________ Address:__________________________________________________ Phone / Email:_____________________________________________

Please charge $______________to my credit card Credit Card #____________________________ Check enclosed, payable to “UO Foundation” Please mail payment to: University of Oregon Foundation, 1720 E. 13th Avenue, Suite 410, Eugene OR 97403-1905


NILI Newsletter FAll 2012