[lg policy] Indigenous Language Institute : Native Language News

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 25 14:05:39 UTC 2009

Forwarded From: Indigenous Language Institute <ili at ilinative.org>

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We are happy to launch our first Native Language Network e-newsletter. There
is much to share, and share we will in increments!

We first want to thank those who continue to support ILI’s work. In these
challenging times, we have made every effort to cut back spending, pare down
to bare necessities for operation and accepted with deep appreciation the
sacrifices and volunteerism of our staff, Board and Advisors. We thank
*you*who have given generously to keep ILI going.

 In each issue, we will feature a community language initiative. If you want
to share your story about the successes and challenges in your language
work, please send us your story to ili at ilinative.org. We will also update
you on ILI’s activities.

We ask you to share this e-Newsletter with your friends and colleagues. We
will use the e-Newsletter to share much-needed information that can be
useful for your language revitalization work!

감사합니다! (Kamsa hapnida)

Inée Y. Slaughter
Executive Director

   [image: Jerry Hill]
 Jerry Hill (ILI President) receiving Verizon Tech Savvy Award, March 2009.
Left to Right: Al Browne, Verizon Foundation; Sharon Darling, President of
the National Center for Family Literacy; Jerry Hill; Christie Vilsack,
Former First Lady of Iowa and Founder of the Tech Savvy Award

*Message from the President*

*Seguli Swakweku,*

The urgency of our mission to help the survival of our heritage languages is
as strong as ever, yet ILI must now face an urgency of its own. As you may
know by now, ILI has, along with many other worthy non-profits, fallen on
dire times. Due to the world economic crisis, the difficult financial
picture we’ve been looking at for the past several years has reached a
critical point. We are now faced with many hard decisions concerning how to
continue our mission without adequate resources.

ILI has evolved over the years to provide immediate tangible skills and
direct assistance to Native language teachers, activists, speakers and
learners through our storytelling and media workshops. Our goal of providing
direct assistance to Native communities has been mostly realized, though not
on the scale we have envisioned. Now we must consider how to pay our
dedicated and competent staff (small as it is with 4 people) and pay rent on
our unique training facilities.

There are more than 500 Native communities in the United States and probably
several hundred more in Canada, and hundreds of others in Mexico, Central
and South America. There are an estimated 175 separate languages still
remaining in the United States in various stages of endangerment of which
linguists predict only 20 will remain in less than a generation. ILI has
focused on the Native people in the United States, for obvious reasons, not
the least of which are the limited financial resources we’ve managed to
secure. Still, we have been able to establish a network of more than 200
Native communities and more than 2,000 Native language teachers, activists
and leaders. We’ve also established partnerships with the national Indian
organizations in advancing our work. ILI it proud of its history in Native
language work BUT this has not been enough; the window of time to fend off
language extinction is rapidly closing.

It takes resources to keep the doors open to Indian Country’s language
speakers, workers, teachers, activists and learners, and without your
support, ILI may not be able to provide the encouragement and tools much
longer to the Native communities in need of them.
The future isn’t gone, nor have we given up hope. We continue to urge and
encourage Indian Country to stubbornly hang on to our languages and culture
by supporting its speakers, activists and learners in every way they can.

*Tanethoniyole wakalihwatkweni tsi’ nahte ʌkaliwayʌtakwʌ*
(That’s as far as I can go today)

Jerry L. Hill (Oneida)
President, ILI Board of Directors

   [image: Sealaska Heritage

*Community Focus:*

*News from Sealaska Heritage Institute*

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI), based in Juneau, Alaska, is a Native-run
non-profit organization whose goal is to enhance and perpetuate the cultures
of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people, the three nations indigenous to
Southeast Alaska. Since its founding in 1981, SHI has been actively involved
in language documentation and revitalization across the region, and this
work remains one of the main priorities for the organization.

All three of our indigenous languages in Southeast Alaska are “critically
endangered”, as noted by UNESCO in their most recent report on the World’s
Languages in Danger. Including communities in both Canada and the US, today
there are fewer than 200 native speakers of Tlingit and Tsimshian remaining,
and fewer than 50 native speakers of Haida. The youngest fluent speakers are
in their 60's, while the most knowledgeable speakers are typically in their
80's and 90's.

Despite these grim numbers, dedicated language activists are striving to
learn Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian from their elders, and re-introduce the
languages into their home communities. SHI continues to focus on the
development of heritage language curriculum at all levels, from pre-school
to university, as well as developing assessment tools that can help to track
students’ progress.

Through it all, the most pressing need is to develop a cohort of younger,
conversationally proficient speakers who will be able to carry the languages
forward for future generations. To this end, SHI is currently working
towards developing intensive language training opportunities for the most
advanced and committed language students in our region. By creating a
setting where students can focus full-time on their language learning, we
believe it will be possible to bring forth that new generation of speakers
while our fluent native speakers are still with us.

   [image: NIEA, ILI, and Languagegeek]

*NIEA Language Summit*

The Indigenous Language Institute is an official partner of National Indian
Education Association (NIEA). At the NIEA National Convention in Milwaukee
(Oct 22-25, 2009) ILI will present a panel during the NIEA Language Summit
on Saturday, October 24, 1:30 – 4:30 PM. The Language Summit is a three-day
special session that takes place in the afternoons of October 22 hosted by
National Alliance for Saving Native Languages, October 23 hosted by Cultural
Survival, and October 24 hosted by ILI.

ILI will demonstrate the technology tools that we teach people to create
their own materials in their languages, including the Languagegeek keyboard
enablement for all indigenous languages. ILI’s session will feature the
various language-related services that are available to teachers, learners
and activists in language revitalization through the consortium of national
and regional language organizations that include: American Indian Language
Development Institute (Arizona), Advocates for Indigenous California
Languages Survival (California), The Piegan Institute (Montana), Oklahoma
Native Languages Association (Oklahoma), and Indigenous Language Institute
(ILI). These organizations are forging a consortium that brings cohesive
services, experiences and consultations to tribes nationwide.
  If you are attending NIEA this year, be sure to stop by the Language

   [image: Wes Studi]<http://e2ma.net/go/6519491657/208018809/208689711/28751/goto:http://www.ilinative.org>
 Wes Studi (Cherokee)  Honorary Chair

*Donate to ILI*

The Indigenous Language Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
governed by a majority Native American Board of Directors. Our work is
funded by federal and private grants and by contributions from all of you.
Your contributions to ILI directly helps Native language become vibrant once
again *Everywhere, Everyday for Everyone*.

You can donate online<http://e2ma.net/go/6519491657/208018809/208689712/28751/goto:http://www.ilinative.org/donate/>


You can mail your contributions to:

ILI, 1501 Cerrillos Road, U-Bldg, Santa Fe, New Mexico USA 87505
   1501 Cerrillos Road U-Building | Santa Fe, NM 87505 US

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