Advocates Newsletter (language)

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Tue Aug 31 15:55:39 UTC 2010

Umaall Shuluuk, Náawi Téelanga


August, 2010

Volume 2, Number 8

In This Issue
·    Karuk Language Immersion & Cultural Enrichment Classes

·    Become on Advocate

Language News
Does Your Language Shape How You Think?
Language Revitalization Efforts
Hopi Lavayi Institute works to revitalize Hopi language
Berenstain Bears help keep Lakota language beating
Navajo language software hits the market
Language Links
Pointers on How to Learn Your Language
Southern California Indigenous Languages Pilot Film
Survey of California & other Indian Languages, UC Berkeley
Intro to Grammatical Analysis, Pam Munro
Te Whanake Māorilanguage online
Contact Us

Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival
Marina Drummer, Administrator
Marina's E-mail
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hunwut at
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Karuk Language Immersion & Cultural Enrichment Classes

Spring 2010

By Crystal Richardson

This spring for the month of May, I taught a series of language and  
cultural classes at Happy Camp Elementary School.  Much of my time,  
cultural and material resources went into teaching three classes over  
the course of the month.  Two of the classes were held twice a week  
during after school sessions.  One of these classes was open to boys  
and girls of all ages, the other was meant only for older kids to work  
on creating their ceremonial regalia.  The materials for this program  
were paid for by the Karuk Community Development Center in order to  
provide a source of cultural healing and meditation for at risk  
community children.

The third class was a volunteer effort lead by myself, the special  
needs teacher, and the cultural coordinator for KCDC.  In Happy Camp  
Elementary there is a class where all the children deemed  
"unteachable" are sent.  This year the class had three to five boys at  
any given time, ranging from second grade to fifth.  By pure  
coincidence all of the boys in the program were Karuk tribal members.   
Because of this, upon hearing about the after school program we were  
putting on, the special needs teacher in charge of these boys  
contacted me to see if it would be possible to come into her class  
during school and teach language, stories, and regalia making once a  
day for two weeks.  I agreed to try it out and found myself surrounded  
by the sweetest, most sensitive, playful, and culturally appropriate  
little boys I've ever had the pleasure of working with.

Over the allotted time, one traditional ceremonial dress was hung and  
is ready for adornment, and a matching full set of regalia necklaces  
were made to completion during the big kids series of afterschool  
sessions.  The smaller children completed eleven everyday necklaces,  
five mother's day gift necklaces, three sets of earrings, and one set  
of traditional beaded hair ties. All of the regalia work was done with  
situational Karuk immersion at its core. As a result several of the  
children know the Karuk names of local natural resources, as well as  
their colors.

The bulk of the language was taught in the special needs class,  
partially because they had an immense interest and matching ability,  
but also because the classes were held more often which allowed for  
more repetition and faster Karuk language acquisition.  Also, all of  
the boys had previous exposure to language, and at least one of them  
used Karuk words in his family every day In the regularly held  
"culture class" we were able to complete three top quality regalia  
necklaces, seven traditional every day necklaces, four miniature eel  
baskets, and we also worked repeatedly on learning colors, color  
construction vocabulary, and color related sentence construction.  We  
also did a series of immersion sets that taught the boys how to use  
their already existing vocabularies in simple sentences and related  
commands.  These courses were popular with the children, as well as  
local community adults.  I've been titled "Culture Teacher" by several  
of the local community children, and every time I walk through Happy  
Camp I am followed by at least one little girl singing her traditional  
gathering song.  This more than anything, lets me know that the spring  
session was a success.

Become an Advocate

Donating to the Advocates gives a vested interest in the  
revitalization of California’s languages and cultures.

Please send donations to the Advocates, 221 Idora Avenue, Vallejo CA  
94591. You can also make donations through our web site at

Thank you for joining the Advocates. Your contributions are tax  

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