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Matthew McDaniel akha at
Fri Mar 19 15:21:24 UTC 1999

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			 Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 22:21:24 +0700
			 From: Matthew McDaniel <akha at>
			 Organization: The Akha Heritage Foundation
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			         Douglass Daley <d_ddlay at>
				 Subject: Re: ELL: please provide verifiable
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			 I posted today again what I am getting at despite the
			 feeling that
			 people have
			 that it is just so much talk.

			 There are two different issues here that are being

			 1.  One is that SIL told me that the matter of
			 orthography was a very
			 political issue here (especially to people like the
			 American Baptists).
			 John Newman did not tell me why they would not
			 support the project.  He
			 said goodbye.  You sight me for a host of offenses
			 when I don't hear you
			 upset at all about what the missions are doing to the
			 Akha which they
			 would have a very hard time doing in the public lime

I have not a lot of funds.

But I seriously believe that what the missions are doing is a human
rights violation, which linguists should be concerned about, and I
struggle to get sufficient resources pulled together to move my
documentation efforts from the field to the western public arena so that
numerous people working on indigenous linguistics to indigenous human
rights, who know what the connection is between endangering a culture
and seeing it loose its language, can join forces with us to see the
practices that evangelical missions are engaged in here, come to an end.

I have far more email supporting my fight for recognition of this
injustice than complaint that I am so verbal.

If I did not continue to fight on the behalf of the Akha would you come
here and replace me?

Print books?

Pay your food money to your writers and go without?

Joking matter?
You come here and try it.

I could use a break.

2. Two is the role of mission organizations in destroying culture.

Both I can prove, both I have video, photographic and written
correspondence for.
I would not have mentioned it had I not proof.

Will the effect of missionaries on the end of indigenous cultures and
be discussed at the upcoming conference?

Would I be mistaken if I were to suggest, that regardless of who I am,
this is
not a subject that many people would find popular?

How many people on this list had plans to come spend a week or month
living in
an Akha village to see the issues related to endangerment first hand?

What kind of sweet talk might I have come up with to get people to come?
Would it have made any difference?

Am I wrong for what I point out?

Ugly facts will never smell good no matter what kind of silver tray you
present them on.

Regarding SIL I have pointed to their connection to mission movements
such as in
the Chiangmai area that are extremely well funded that are part of the
of wiping out Akha traditional culture.

I can prove that.

What do I want?

I want to see a more clearly spelled out ethic for linguistic work as it
to the rights of the indigenous linguistic community and as it relates
to the
rights of the indigenous linguistic community to share in a proportional
of the wealth gotten from their indigenous knowledge.

Or is anyone saying that no wealth or benefit is gotten from these indigenous
communities, that the playing field is equal, they get exactly as much
as they

Why do you take the position against me for pointing that out?

Why do you fault me for sharing this issue with the indigenous community
on the internet? What, was this suppose to be a nice clean polite issue.
It certainly isn't nice and clean and polite what the missionaries are
doing to the Akha here.

I have stated that endangered peoples have endangered languages, not the other
way around.

Mr. Bradley said that the Akha language was not one of the endangered

Am I wrong for defending this case?

Am I wrong for saying that people who were in the linguist camp have
stood by
for a very long time while VERY POORLY translated works were foisted on the

What is this to you, an academic discussion over tea?

Real peoples lives and the lives of their children are affected by the
way they
are treated about their language.

Was I suppose to kiss up to SIL to get their help?

I protested that the manipulation of the access to the Akha language materials
had been a level of high concern to Akha people here and that the main
working with the Akha had a vested interest in this.

How is this not relevant to linguistics?

You make out as if all my claims are just smoke and that there maybe
isn't even
a real world where real Akha people live.

Do you think there is any shortage of missionaries overrunning the villages
here in northern Thailand and Burma?

There are scores of them.  You can go to that page at and find
something on it.

Is not the Bible and the control of the script and what gets published
in it for
who something that some people would very much like to control?

Maybe it would be much more appreciated by people other than the Akha if I
discussed something like tone?

You may not like my tone, as the SIL man said in Chiangmai.
Paul Lewis who I met one time said that it frightened him that someone
as myself who knew nothing of Akha culture would be working with them.
(who knows maybe I would have started a sterilization progrom).
But due to my efforts on the behalf of a people that are raggedly poor
beyond belief, that get incinerated with no one even knowing they died,
that can be found begging all over the country in extreme poverty, I
have fought their name out to thousands of people calling attention to
their incredible plight.

I have spent years up here, with no pay or compensation for this work,
living in poverty so that I could stay on base and keep documenting what
was happening here, and pull together a wide based literacy program.

Several people I know on this list have assisted with this work here.
Some of them know the true conditions here and what is being done to the
Akha and that a big part of the issue is linguistics.

I do not demand that people on this list give to help this work.
So I am not disappointed if they don't.
That is where you have missed me.

What I am after is a call for a change in ethic that will consider the
unequal footing of the endangered language community and for protection
of the indigenous peoples linguistic rights.

When you force people by clever manipulation and slight of hand to
abandon their culture, because as a race you truly believe it to be evil
and inferior, just how much of their language did you wipe out?

Does that political, cultural and racial issue have anything to do with
endangered languages.

I don't hear anyone on this list complaining about how the Klamath
Indians were treated.  But their language is gone?

And I am faulted for the former?

Give me heck, but in the future languages will hopefully be considered
intellectual property right items like computer languages and then
everyone will get to pay and the Akha and who ever else will have the
moneys they need to buy computers.

This is the real issue, who does the mining, and who has the wealth and
money and SIL ain't doin' too bad.

Matthew McDaniel

Jeff ALLEN wrote:

> At 12:28 18/03/99 +0700, Matthew McDaniel wrote:
> >SIL sits like a vault of linguistic information while people do not want to
> >admit what they do and have done around the world.
> Sorry to say, but this is beginning to sound like a very
> scratched or broken record.
> >They refused to work with me on a VERY successful
> >language protection project, both their people here
> >and in Portland.  I had protested to them that the
> >American Baptist mission would not make Bibles readily
> >available to pastors who did not toe their theological line.
> Given the barrage of injurious and insulting messages that
> you have been plastering all over this list and forwarding
> to other lists (mind you, without the explicit permission
> of the author of the original message), as if this
> this the only thing you have time to do all day long,
> I wouldn't blame any organization with regard to a
> decision to avoid working with you.  Affiliation with
> partners is based on confidence, and after having read
> all of these insults placed on a public forum, hardly any
> respectable organization, certainly an NGO, with an intent
> to maintain its reputation, would want anything to do with
> your work, or have you represent them in any form or
> manner.
> At 12:28 18/03/99 +0700, Matthew McDaniel wrote:
> >Why has there been so small a voice on ELL to promote the issue of an ethic
> >unless a whole lot of people are sleeping with the enemy, a wolf in this
> case.
> >
> >John Newman, the SIL/Wycliffe man in Portland Oregon
> >agreed to help me with
> >the literacy project and then after contacting the SIL
> >people in Chiangmai, withdrew that offer.
> Sorry to say, but when I cite peoples names in publicized
> e-mail messages, I also cc: them on the message. This
> is considered appropriate behavior and at least respectful of
> those people who are cited, especially when they are
> probably not subscribers to the discussion forum. If you don't
> have John Newman's e-mail address, then spend a few minutes
> looking for it, rather than ranting and raving and citing non-verifiable
> claims.
> If you go to, you will see that there
> is a "Northwest Regional Office (NWRO)".
> State your information correctly rather than just
> saying the "SIL/Wycliffe guy in Portland". No one
> can tell if Mr. Newman happens to be living there or if there
> is an Wycliffe or SIL office in Portland. And if
> there wasn't an office there, who knows if he
> actually lives in Gresham, Oregon City, Beaverton,
> Lake Oswego, etc (I just happen to have grown
> up in the Portland area and did both of
> my undergraduate degrees there) which happen
> to be different municipalities of the Greater
> Portland metropolitan area.  When using "people
> finder" functions on all of the Internet search
> engines, one must be specific, so please provide
> specific and accurate information when you choose
> to disseminate it on lists.
> And by the way, the general NWRO office
> e-mail address is:  nwro at
> Also, all you need to do is spent a few minutes doing
> your research on Altavista to find out that Wycliffe and
> SIL aliases are as follows for e-mail addresses:
> firstname_lastname at
> firstname_lastname at
> Nearly everything that I have stated in my previous
> messages can easily be found at the following web sites:
> or can be checked by sending an e-mail to:
> 106751.325 at
> (for the French SIL office)
> sil_admissions at
> (for general inqueries regarding SIL schools)
> There is no way to verify any stitch of information
> on SIL that you have been diffusing over the past
> few weeks (and seemingly months and years from
> the sounds of it).  In my experience, all non-veriable,
> off-hand comments are often discounted in all
> scientific circles, and nearly always end up being
> rejected in articles that are submitted for conferences
> or journals. Please do your own research,
> get the facts from the people in question, and then
> come back to a list with the answers.  Your hear-say
> accounts such as:
> "Maybe someone with specific information on this could reply and possible
> someone
> at upper management at SIL could either substantiate or discredit the
> statement
> in a book that SIL was organized for this reason and has the same board as
> Wycliffe, in which case they are not seperate."
> need to be more specific.  You need to provide basic bibliographic
> information (author, title, publication date, place, publisher) for
> anyone to be able to answer you.  Just take a look at the
> SIL web site indicated above and see their long list of publications.
> How can anyone answer your question when your question is
> so vague?
> I hope that this is not an indication of your linguistic research
> procedures.
> >The SIL man in Chiangmai said he didn't like my tone.
> I would probably say the same thing after all the
> correspondence I've read from you on this topic on the ELL list
> in the past two months.
> >I would like to see this matter made a matter of record, because I believe
> >that SIL is involved in Thailand in a supporting role to the very missions
> who
> >are manipulating and controlling the language of the Akha...
> The more you spit and defame people and organizations on public
> fora, the less they, as well as other organizations and people, will
> listen to you and/or would be willing to work with you.
> You yourself wrote:
> Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 14:47:23 +0700
> From: Matthew McDaniel <akha at> wrote:
> "[[Some people say, "Matthew, you really get in people's faces"
> This kind of attitude, especially on a public forum, is very likely
> to turn anyone off.  And you even admit it publicly.
> And please get your citations straight.
> You wrote:
> Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 12:28:20 +0700
> From: Matthew McDaniel <akha at>
> Organization: The Akha Heritage Foundation
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> To: endangered-languages-l at,
>         sovernspeakout <sovernspeakout at>,
>         Warriornet <warriornet at>,
>         "Under_the_Gun at" <Under_the_Gun at>,
>         Indigenous <Indigenous3rdWorld at>
> Subject: Re: ELL: clarification about SIL from an external point of view
> <long snip>
> What gives?
> Matthew McDaniel
> "Gail M. Coelho" wrote:
> > >
> > >SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators are not the same organization.
> > >They are sister, yet quite separate, organizations. In fact, you
> > >forgot to include the third sister that is called JAARS.  Their
> > >roles are different and it is quite important to distinguish between
> > >them because not everyone who is affiliated with SIL is concerned
> > >with the promotion of translating the Bible into vernacular languages.
> > >
> > >
> > I disagree with your claim that these are 'quite separate' organizations.
> > They are 'separate' in the work that they do, but they are not separate in
> > the idealogical or political perspective from which they do this work, and
> > they are not separate in the ultimate goal that they are working towards
> --
> > and that is the *real* issue here. The *real* issue that Matthew is
> > protesting against.
> >
> This is incorrect.  I wrote the first paragraph, subsequently cited by Gail
> Coelho.
> 1. You did not cite me as the author; and
> 2. You did not ask for my permission to cite my authored material to
>     lists that I am not subscribed to; and
> 3. You did not cc: me on the message that was sent to these other lists.
> So, please do your fact-finding before coming to a public discussion list
> with hear-say comments and statements.  Get your the primary
> facts straight, do some proper research, lists the web sites,
> books (with proper reference info) and come back to the "discussion"
> list with something that that is quantiable and verifiable so that we
> can check your data and information and participate in a discussion
> rather than a monologue.
> Now we can maybe get back to something on the topic
> of "endangered languages" and their cogeners.
> Best,
> Jeff
> =================================================
> Jeff ALLEN - Directeur Technique
> European Language Resources Association (ELRA)  &
> European Language Resources Distribution Agency (ELDA)
> (Agence Europ.enne de Distribution des Ressources Linguistiques)
> 55, rue Brillat-Savarin
> 75013   Paris   FRANCE
> Tel: (+33) (0) - Fax: (+33) (0)
> mailto:jeff at
> ----
> Endangered-Languages-L Forum: endangered-languages-l at
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Matthew McDaniel
The Akha Heritage Foundation
386/3 Sailom Joi Rd
Maesai, Chiangrai, 57130
Mobile Phone Number:  Sometimes hard to reach while in Mountains.
01-881-9288  when in Thailand
66-1-881-9288  when out  Thailand

Web Site:
mailto:akha at

US Address:

Donations by check or money order may be sent to:

The Akha Heritage Foundation
1586 Ewald Ave SE
Salem OR 97302

Donations by direct banking:

In the US can be transfered to:

Wells Fargo Bank
Akha Heritage Foundation
Acc. # 0081-889693
Keizer Branch
Keizer, Oregon, USA

Outside the US:

Matthew Duncan McDaniel
Bangkok Bank Ltd
Acc.# 3980240778
Maesai Branch

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