Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Sun Jun 25 18:09:31 UTC 2006

Robison looks to maintain the Western Shoshone language

June 17, 2006

The Nevada Arts Council approved 12 Folklife Apprenticeship grants in  
May, including two in Fallon.

The council approved more than $28,000 to be divided between the 12  
recipients throughout Nevada. The two Fallon grants equal $4,907 for  
apprenticeship programs in the art of Western saddlemaking and  
Western Shoshone language and culture.

Each grant is based on the amount needed for the master artist to  
teach the apprentice an art form handed down within families,  
occupations, tribes, ethnic, regional and other community groups to  
preserve Nevada's rich cultural heritage.

Betty Robison of Fallon is one of the master artists that will be  
teaching granddaughter and apprentice Crystal Allen, 23, of the  
Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, the Western Shoshone language and  
culture. Robison's grant was for $2,407 and will be used for  
materials and continuing education throughout the year.

Allen will learn the cultural aspects and the majority of the  
language skills in a two-week, 80-hour study course.

"We will focus on the culture and language eight hours a day for the  
entire two weeks. By the end of the two-week course, no more English  
will be spoken," said Robison. The training will continue with Allen  
through a correspondence program consisting of study guides, tapes  
and booklets Robison will make throughout the year.

Robison said she tried to teach Allen the language as a child, but  
she had no interest in learning.

"She became interested once she graduated from community college,"  
said Robison.

Robison said when Allen began studying culture in college and learned  
many of the nation's traditions were slowly disappearing, she  
realized she had a responsibility to learn and to help preserve a  
culture that could die out in the near future.

Allen is pursuing a degree in political science with a full  
scholarship to Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. Mount  
Holyoke is an all-female Ivy League college located near Boston.

"I had taken it for granted (the language)," Allen said. "When I went  
to school on the East Coast, I noticed a lack of Native American  

The Nevada Arts Council began the grant program in 1988 to preserve  
cultural heritage that was on the verge of disappearing from Nevada  

Folklife Apprenticeship Grants of no more than $2,500 are given to  
individual master artists statewide that apply with either one or  
more apprentices to preserve a relevant cultural heritage.

Classes for the apprentice can last from a couple of weeks to an  
entire year, depending on the time needed to master the skill.

The grants are yearly and the application process begins in December.  
Grant decisions are generally voted on in May.

Visit the Web site for information on the Folklife Apprenticeship  
programs at

Viktoria Pearson can be contacted at vpearson at

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: spacer.gif
Type: image/gif
Size: 43 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Endangered-languages-l mailing list