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The Crow Language Consortium (CLC) is well on its way to becoming a prominent figure in the Native language revitalization movement — testimony to a small of Native educators and linguists who recognized the deteriorating health of Apsáalooke, the native language of the Crow Tribe, and decided to do something about it.
Only five years earlier, in 2012, UNESCO (The United Nation’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) had classified Apsáalooke as “definitely endangered,” the result of years of governmental policy that sought to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society through forceful cultural and linguistic oppression.
Determined to not let the language wither into extinction, CLC was founded in 2014 to help the Crow Nation to realize their goals of language revitalization. The Crow Tribe then enacted an official resolution to establish a tribal policy on preservation and maintenance of the Crow Language and Culture.
Thanks to the support from the Crow Nation, and in collaboration with The Language Conservancy, CLC has been able to provide essential teaching materials and trainings vital to keeping their language alive, including:
• Crow Vocab Builder, a smart phone app enabling learners to enhance their Crow vocabulary by quizzing learners on a variety of words sets, from food to animals and everything in between. As the learner masters each category, they unlock new vocabulary sets to learn.
• Speak Crow!Textbook Series: Textbook series for Apsáalooke, based on extensive work with Native Crow speakers and linguists. Levels 1 and 2 are available at the Bookstore, and CLC is in process of developing Level 3.
• Crow Dictionary: As part of a larger strategic plan to to preserve and revitalize the Apsáalooke language, the Crow Dictionary will expand extant Crow dictionaries to approximately 15,000 words and 800 pages, offering speakers a user-friendly way to access the language in both the Crow-English and English-Crow sections.
• Crow Summer Institute at Little Big Horn College, an intensive three week Institute with crash courses on Crow linguistics, pedagogical methods and cultural activities, designed to train prospective teachers of Apsáalooke to instruct native Crow children on the reservation. In 2017, more than 40 educators participated in the 5th annual Crow Summer Institute.
This year CLC has achieved the important milestone of obtaining 501(c)3 non-profit status with the IRS, opening a floodgate to new funding opportunities. In addition, the Crow Nation’s tribal college, Little Big Horn College, has received a grant from the Administration of Native Americans to open the first-ever Apsáalooke language immersion school, named the Chickadee Lodge. TLC will be working closely with them, having experience with developing immersion schools in the Lakota language.
Sept 25, 2017 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3 talk with founder/director of The Language Conservancy, non-profit leading fight to save Native American languages
BLOOMINGTON, IN — Wilhelm Meya, co-founder & Executive Director of The Language Conservancy & Lakota Language Consortium, two leading non-profits for Native American Language revitalization, will present a talk on his organizations’ work on Tuesday, October 3 at Purdue University in West Lafayette.
The event was put together by History professor Dr. Victor Maqque for the Four Directions: Building a Foundation for Native Scholars, a new program designed to increase the visibility of Native American initiatives on campus. Co-hosts for the event include the Purdue Native American Educational and Cultural Center; Native American & Indigenous Studies Department; and the Indigenous and Endangered Languages Lab.
“We’re very excited about Wil Meya’s visit,” said Dr. Maqque. “We hope this will be the first in a series of collaborations with The Language Conservancy. Here at Purdue, there is an excellent group of Native American students and faculty deeply interested in working on language conservation and teaching. This is an extraordinary opportunity for us.”
In his presentation, Wil Meya will talk about the successes and challenges of what he calls a Native American Language Movement, and why this work matters.
Every five months, another Native American language is lost forever. Today, only 2% of Native Americans are fluent in their language, nearly all elders. Most languages have only a handful of speakers left. It is a crisis. And yet there is hope.
Since 2005, The Language Conservancy has worked with more than a dozen tribes to help save their languages, including Lakota, Crow, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Cherokee, Mohegan, Omaha-Ponca, and more. TLC has demonstrated that Native American languages can be revitalized.
But the work canʻt be done only in the classroom. It takes long-term, comprehensive programs: documenting speakers in their communities; creating dictionaries and textbooks; producing phone apps and other digital learning tools; training teachers; organizing language institutes; doing year-round outreach and advocacy.
For more information about the talk (which will be free and open to the public), contact Dr. Victor Maqque at email@example.com or (574) 252-1453.
About Wilhelm Meya
Wil Meya is co-founder and executive director of The Language Conservancy and its sister organization, the Lakota Language Consortium, and an internationally-recognized advocate for endangered languages, drawing upon more than 20 years of experience in higher education, linguistics, film production, and nonprofit management. Wil was also the executive producer of the award-winning documentary “Rising Voices.” He is the author of dozens of articles in the field of anthropology and linguistics, and recipient of numerous awards for scientific and societal achievement. Wil also consults on strategic planning and leadership for universities, corporations, and government agencies, and a frequent presenter at professional development events.
About The Language Conservancy
Founded in 2005 in Bloomington, IN, The Language Conservancy has become the nationʻs leading nonprofit working with Native American tribes across the U.S. to save and revitalize their endangered languages. TLC trains language teachers through Summer Language Institutes and year-round programs; publishes print and digital learning materials; and advocates for public awareness of language loss and recovery. TLC has worked with more than 200 schools and 30,000 thousand students representing 15 tribes, including Lakota, Dakota, Crow, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Maskoke, Acoma, Cherokee, Mohegan, Omaha, Ho-Chunk and others. TLC also produced and distributes award-wining advocacy campaigns and media, including Rising Voices, an award-winning film about The Lakota Siouxʻs efforts to save their language, and the Lakota Berenstein Bears.
Sept 24, 2017 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bloomington, IN — The Language Conservancy, the Bloomington-based non-profit that works with Native Americans to help save endangered languages, has put a tickets on sale for their 2017 Gala, to be held Friday November 3 at Deer Park Manor in Bloomington.
The event will feature performance by legendary Lakota musician and cultural ambassador Kevin Locke; clips from The Language Conservancyʻs media work (including Rising Voices, the Lakota Berenstein Bears, and Woman Walks Ahead; Silent Auction; and wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Tickets are available online at gala.languageconservancy.org for $100 (priority seating), $50 and $25 for students.
All proceeds will support The Language Conservancyʻs language education with Native American communities and schools, including the development of pioneering textbooks, dictionaries and digital apps; teacher training institutes; curriculum development; and advocacy work.
The Conservancy has also established an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, with matching funds up to $10,000 pledged by The M & J Fitzgerald Family Foundation.
For more information, visit gala.languageconservancy.org or contact Rebecca Mueller, Events Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 961-6360, Ext. 102.
About The Language Conservancy
The Language Conservancy (TLC), based in Bloomington, IN, works with Native American communities to help save endangered languages. TLC partners with tribes to do everything it takes to revitalize a language: from recording native speakers, producing dictionaries, publishing textbooks and digital apps, to organizing Teacher trainings and Language Institutes. TLC also produces award-winning media and advocacy campaigns, including Rising Voices, a documentary about the fight to save the Lakota language, and the Lakota Berenstein Bears, the first-ever Native American cartoon series.
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Omaha-Ponca Summer Institute – NEW!
May 22-26 • Nebraska Indian College
More info / register WAIT LIST
Crow Summer Institute (Montana)
June 5-23 • Little Big Horn College
More info / register
Lakota Summer Institute (North Dakota)
June 5-30 • Sitting Bull College
More info / register
MHA Summer Institute (North Dakota)
July 10-28 • Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
More info / register
May 1, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico Launches Project to Save Language
Fluent speakers of Acoma Keres language gather to record voices for dictionary and more
Sky City, New Mexico — Nearly two dozen of the
speakers of the Acoma Keres language have answered the call for a new project designed to restore the language for generations to come.
They’ve come together to record their voices for the Acoma Dictionary Workshop, May 1-12 at the Acoma Learning Center. Participants receive a daily stipend of $100, plus lunch and transportation.
It’s the first phase of a multi-year Acoma Language Recovery Plan, organized by the Pueblo of Acoma Department of Education, in partnership with The Language Conservancy, leaders in the fight to revitalize Native American languages.
“Acoma retains a rich and vibrant culture dating back more than 1200 years,” said Stanley Holder, executive director of the Department of Education. “But the tribal membership realized we were rapidly losing the language. We had to take a more systematic approach to language preservation and revitalization, which The Language Conservancy provides.”
Beyond the Dictionary, the Language Recovery Plan aims to develop curriculum, instruction, electronic media and certification of teachers to teach the language in area schools in all grades.
Acoma Dictionary Workshop continues through May 12 (9 am- 4:15 pm) at the Acoma Learning Center (17A Knots Landing).
The Pueblo of Acoma Department of Education was established in 2007 by the Acoma Tribal Council to develop quality educational services for the people of Acoma Pueblo.
The Language Conservancy (TLC) is a nonprofit organization leading the revitalization of Native American languages by developing leading-edge programs and materials (from dictionaries to mobile apps) in partnership with tribes, and by advocating for endangered languages.
The Language Conservancy
Pueblo of Acoma Department of Education
In January 2016, The Language Conservancy began working with the Fort Peck Tribes’ Language & Culture Department to develop apps for learning Nakoda (Assiniboine) and Yanktonai Dakota languages.
Last week, the apps (for iOS and Android) were delivered.
And in 5 days, already downloaded 800+ times!
Some early reviews:
“Perfect, love it!”
“I am STOKED!”
“Hókahe! Oyáte, Dakȟótia po!”
TLC linguist Elliot Bannister traveled to Fort Peck to formally present the apps to the Tribal Council and the community at large. Elliot also led workshops in spelling and vocabulary, and did additional recordings with native speakers.
The Vocab Builders are smart flashcard apps that enable learners of Nakoda and Yanktonai Dakota to practice vocabulary and pronunciation in culturally-relevant categories.
The apps are just one piece of Fort Peck’s commitment to revitalize Nakoda and Dakota. Both are part of the Siouan language family and closely related to Lakota. According to Fort Peck community members, there are approximately 35 Dakota and 25 Assiniboine first-language speakers in the community.
Download the apps here:
The Language Conservancy would like to introduce several new faces that have joined the staff in recent months, a group that includes a linguist, a designer, special events coordinator and a communications specialist.
Edwin Ko joined TLC in September after earning an M.S. in Linguistics from Georgetown University with research interests in indigenous languages of North America. He is currently working on a number of Hidatsa and Crow language projects, including development of a talking dictionary and a beginner’s conversational audio course.
Allison Horner is a designer, artist and illustrator who received a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design who joined TLC in October. Her work can be seen in TLC materials ranging from brochures, newsletters, textbooks and picture books.
After struggling for some time to create teaching materials aimed at growing the number of users of the Omaha language, the Umóⁿhoⁿ (Omaha) Nation Public School, the Walthill Public School and the Omaha Tribal Education Department in Nebraska now have an important language revitalization tool in the works.
Now underway in Macy, Neb., the project will lead to the creation of an introductory level textbook and accompanying audio CD that will be distributed for free to the participating Omaha reservation schools. A teacher training course will be held and language pre-tests and post-tests for students will be developed and conducted.
“With textbooks and audio CDs created in part from interviews and recordings with the tribe’s remaining Elders we will have additional resources to teach, grow and increase daily use of our Omaha language,” said Vida Stabler, director of the Umóⁿhon (Omaha) Nation Public School Indian Education Program. “We’re trying to rescue far more than our endangered language, but our unique culture which also is a significant piece of American history and culture.”
The work between TLC and the Omaha Tribe is being facilitated by a $100,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.
TLC staff have been traveling the nation in support of indigenous language revitalization, attending conferences, conventions, public engagements and trade shows from the Southwest to the East Coast.
On Sept. 30, over 200 people attended an event titled Standing Rock: More than a Pipeline, held at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, VA. It included a Skype-in Q&A session with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Lakota Language Specialist Alayna Eagle Shield, a demonstration of the Plains Indian flute by Kevin Locke of Standing Rock, and a screening of Rising Voices, followed by a Q&A with Jack Martin, Director of Linguistics at William & Mary, and our own executive director, Wil Meya.
October has been a busy month in the world of Indian education and language revitalization, and TLC has been sharing our insights and experiences all over the country:
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska in November launched the HoChunk Vocab Builder, a new language vocabulary app for both Android and iOS devices that has already been downloaded nearly 400 times. The free app includes 40 categories of HoChunk words and phrases, complete with audio, as well as and HoChunk-to-English and English-to-HoChunk word match quizzes.
The app was released with fanfare at a launch event at the Blackhawk Community Center in downtown Winnebago. Guests learned how to download and use the app, played language learning games, enjoyed a community feed and took snaps in a selfie photo booth.
“The Winnebago are seeing that the use of digital tools can be used to enhance our revitalization efforts,” said Lewis “Bleu” St. Cyr, director of the Winnebago Tribe’s HoChunk Renaissance Program. “Our staff here at the Renaissance Program are creative, innovative individuals and their contributions and ideas are helping retain and grow the tribal community’s interest in the HoChunk language.”