xkiri koovura karuk va’araaras kunchupheesh nanuchuupa (Get people talking Karuk)
Until recently, I was unaware that the drop-out rate among American Indian and Alaska Native students is twice the national average. A number of factors make AI/AN youth less likely to graduate from high-school or college than students of any other ethnic or racial group in the US. According to a 2010 report by The Civil Rights Project, reasons “include feeling ‘pushed out’ of schools, poor quality of student-teacher relationships, lack of parental support, peer pressure, distance from school, difficulty with classes, poor attendance, legal problems and language barriers, among other factors.”
This past week, I read a couple of different articles suggesting that one way to address several of these factors is to teach indigenous languages in schools. With many AI/AN students feeling as if they are actively being pushed out of school, offering indigenous language classes or language immersion programs can help pull students back in. As many of us have experienced first-hand, having just one class that we really enjoy can make the school day bearable, even enjoyable. It makes sense that students who feel welcomed and are engaged by their classes have higher attendance rates than those who don’t. It also stands to reason that when students are offered classes that are tailored to their needs they are more likely to complete assignments, get better grades, and feel more invested in the educational system overall.
However, with funding in many school systems stretched thin, it’s often difficult to convince those holding the purse strings that language instruction is necessary. Parents, including AI/AN parents, are often divided over whether or not language instruction should be a priority when there are so many other needs to be met.
While I personally can see both sides of the argument, stories like the one of California State University student Michael Murphy make me believe that schools must make language classes, culturally-appropriate curriculum, and culturally sensitive teaching methods a priority. Murphy, a member of the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, says he would have dropped out his first semester had it not been for his involvement in the American Indian Student Alliance. Now a sophomore, Murphy is involved in a project blogged about, creating interactive Luiseño language lessons to be loaded onto Nintendo-compatible game cartridges. It’s sad to think that other students like Murphy are disappearing from our high-schools and universities because they are not given the support they need.
Speak What You Can, Teach What You Know
The Northwest Indian Language Institute has opened registration for the 2014 Summer Institute
– June 23 to July 3 –
at the University of Oregon
Linguistics: Introduction to Native American Languages, Intermediate Linguistics, and Introduction to Ichishkíin
Language classes: Chinuk Wawa, Ichishkíin, Tolowa Dee-ni’, Choctaw, Lushootseed, and Nez Perce.
Teaching Methods: Home Based Teaching & Learning, Early Childhood & Elementary Classroom Teaching, & Middle School through Adult Teaching.
Materials Development 1 & 2
Teaching Methods lecture and discussion
Language Activism Seminar
High School Cohort Program: High School program's core classes: language, linguistics, and teaching methods and materials development. Students will design and create activities to support their learning and teaching. Students will have other activities at NILI and on campus.
Scholarships are available to assist with tuition costs only; the scholarship application is available on our website.
To find registration forms, scholarship application, or for more information, please go to http://pages.uoregon.edu/nwili/summer-institute and see the attached flyer.
Issue: #2-14 February/2014
In This Issue The Spoken Word in Berkeley CA on March 28 Become an Adovocate
"Bad Indians" by Ryan Red Corn
Interested in having trainings for your language program or organization,Contact the Advocates at
Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival
221 Idora AvenueVallejo CA 94591(707) 486-6866 fax: (866) 644-7616
Marina Drummer at
The Spoken WordHeyday Books -- 1633 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703Friday, March 28, 2014 6:00pm
Spoken word is a way to express feelings, ideas, thoughts and visions through song and poetry. Far too often, Indian languages lack venues where we as Native people are able to use our Native languages to express our stories and experiences.
AICLS, in partnership with News from Native California and Heyday, would like to invite you to an evening of stories, poetry, and song shared in languages indigenous to California. It will truly be a special evening. A night of the oldest languages of this land being spoken and sung in a modern setting, a shining testament to our ongoing presence, as we speak and sing of issues dear to our hearts.
For more information, please feel free to contact AICLS, or News from Native California through Facebook, or personally contact Vincent, a member of AICLS' Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org
UseBecome an Advocate
"Language and culture cannot be separated. Language is vital to understanding our unique cultural perspectives. Language is a tool that is used to explore and experience our cultures and the perspectives that are embedded in our cultures."
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 aicls.org.Thank you for joining the Advocates. Your contributions are tax deductible.
Forty-two new projects aimed at preserving Indigenous languages will share $2.6 million in Federal Government funding.
Announcing the latest recipients of the Indigenous Languages Support program, Minister for the Arts Senator George Brandis, and Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion said the Government is committed to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples keep their languages alive.
“The Indigenous Languages Support program was established in 1991 and has been a vital tool for maintaining, reviving and sharing Indigenous languages,” Brandis said.
The investment will support 42 additional activities and enable communities to develop culturally appropriate learning resources across a range of new media and through partnerships with schools, cultural organisations and libraries.