Camp Out (language)

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Tue Oct 21 16:37:10 UTC 2003

Campers learn about their tribal language

They also created a CD that will allow the tribes to share what the youths
learned with other young people.

By Jessica Delos Reyes of the Union-Bulletin Monday, October 20, 2003

MISSION - "We're to always teach our children, so they will know our Indian

"Taa minwa na sapskiwata naami miyanishma Kupa shugwata naami tananawit."

The program opens with this song and images of children in regalia
projected onto a screen. Children point at their images and giggle as they
snack on pizza and cake. Few are aware they created a tool for future
generations to learn the Imatalam (Umatilla) language, one spoken by only
about 17 people.

Nine of the original 12 elementary school campers of the Flash Story Camp
were honored during a reception Friday at the Tamastslikt Cultural
Institute. The campers devoted three hours a day, Monday through Thursday
this summer to learning their language.

With Flash software, they also produced "Coyote Chef," a program with
language games and each camper's rendition of the story of "Spilyay
Kuukithla," as told to them by instructor Thomas Morning Owl. Spilyay
(Coyote) tricks the Squirrel people into cooking themselves for his meal.

Flash is an interactive multimedia program campers used to mix animation
and sound.

The program was made possible through a $20,000 grant from First Nations
Development in collaboration with Tamastslikt's Language Enhancement
Program and Education Department, and the Confederated Tribes of the
Umatilla Indian Reservation.

The Flash Story Camp was modeled after the elementary school language
program by the Tulalip tribe in Marysville, Wash. Students there used
technology to learn the Lushootseed language from instructor David Cort.
Prior to Tamastslikt's camp, Cort conducted a one-week Flash training for

"Students of this age are capable of picking up a second language very
readily," Cort said in a news release. "It's their nature to understand
technology in a heartbeat."

Mildred Quaempts, language coordinator for Tamastslikt and one of the camp
instructors, said most of the students had never really been exposed to
their native language. She estimated 50 people still speak the three
languages of the Confederated Tribes: Imatalam (Umatilla), Walla Walla and
Nez Perce, spoken by Cayuse native speakers.

Camp instructor Tessie Williams said the CDs will be distributed to area
tribal governments and schools.

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