Language Justice

“The ultimate form of decolonization is through how Native languages form a view of the world.”
-Wendy Red Star

Darren Vigil Gray (Apache) used with permission

Tom Torlino (Navajo)

Tom Torlino (Navajo) in 1883, and after 3 years at the Carlisle Indian Boarding School, which was not closed until the 1970s.

In 2015, MICA surveyed 130 Tribal Nations to ask their top five priorities. Every tribe listed language revitalization as a priority, and the majority listed language revitalization as their top priority.  Consequently, MICA has worked diligently to develop a national response to language loss that will support every tribal language in the United States.

Among the 115 Indigenous languages spoken in the U.S. today, two are healthy, 34 are in danger, and 79 will go silent within a generation without serious intervention. In other words, 99% of the Native American languages spoken today are in danger.

The Carlisle Indian Boarding School

The Carlisle Indian Boarding School in Carlisle, PA was one of hundreds of Indian Boarding Schools run by the U.S. government to “civilize” Indian children as young as 5 years old.

Historical trauma caused by the U.S. policy of forcibly removing Native children from their families to attend boarding schools far from home, where they were harshly punished for speaking their languages and forced to speak English, has been passed down generationally. Historical trauma is a major, lingering cause of language loss today.

Unlike English or other European languages, Indigenous languages define our identities as unique peoples and align our thinking with our Indigenous world views. That’s why Wendy Red Star refers to language as the “ultimate form of decolonization,” and why one of MICA’s highest priorities is Language Justice.

We work to reverse language loss through on-the-ground language consulting in home communities, community grantmaking, conferences, workshops and gatherings, publications, national studies, and advocacy.

Conferences and Gatherings

Pathways to Fluency Poster

Pathways to Fluency: A Gathering of Voices – Albuquerque, NM

This five-day gathering brought together 88 Tribal communities and 230 attendees, 17 national and international language visionaries, MacArthur award winners, philanthropic organizations, and government agencies to share hopes, dreams, and strategies for community-led language revitalization. Attendees provided MICA with concrete recommendations that guide our Language Justice work today:

  • Provide opportunities for language visionaries (experts) to visit our home communities to help us move our language programs forward
  • Find new sources of funding for community language programs
  • Help us stay together so that we can support each other

“It was like everyone had been waiting for this opportunity to convene and discuss language revitalization with such humanity and shared passion. I think the gathering will be sending people back home with renewed energy and ideas. – Tribal Attendee

“The most valuable part was realizing that we are all working toward the same goals. We may be getting there in different ways, but the planning practices are the same!”— Tribal Attendee

View agenda here and participant comments here.

Funders: W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Lannan Foundation

Language Visionaries Gathering – Santa Fe, NM

This historic, two-day meeting of 17 well-known language visionaries resulted in Pathways on a Language Landscape: A Planning Guide for Native Language Revitalization.

Funder: W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Leadership Gathering: Language Schools and Programs – Minneapolis, MN

MICA hosted a networking meeting with leaders of successful language schools and programs to discuss and share “readiness for change” models for use in language program development.

Funder: Wells Fargo Foundation

Healing Through Language Workshop – Santa Fe, NM

Co-hosted with the Endangered Language Fund, MICA’s Healing Through Language workshop featured keynote speaker Shelly Lowe, Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Speakers and attendees discussed the role of historical trauma in language loss and how to address its lingering effects on language revitalization efforts. Dr. Melissa Lewis (Cherokee) presented preliminary study findings proving the positive physical and mental health effects of learning and speaking one’s Native language.

Funders: National Science Foundation and the Endangered Language Fund


Pathways on a Language Landscape: A Planning Guide for Native Language Revitalization

MICA asked over 100 Tribes to recommend thought leaders in language revitalization from whom they would like to learn. We invited 17 of these language visionaries to a two-day meeting to share their wisdom. The meeting notes were compiled in Pathways on a Language Landscape: A Planning Guide for Native Language Revitalization found here.

Funder: W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Journal Article: Health effects of Indigenous language use and revitalization: a realist review

After seeking new federal funding sources for several years, we realized that federal agencies needed clinical evidence to recognize language revitalization as essential to healthy Indigenous communities. MICA supported a Yale University team that included four Native researchers in a review of 130 language studies. The three-year study was published in the peer-reviewed International Journal for Equity in Health in November 2022. The review found strong evidence that speaking and learning one’s Native language improves physical and mental health in Indigenous populations. The study, which has been downloaded over 5,000 times, can be found here.

Funders: National Science Foundation, MICA Group, and the Endangered Language Fund

On-the-Ground Projects

On-Site Language Consulting

Language teachers at MICA's Pathways to Fluency Gathering, 2016

Language teachers at MICA’s Pathways to Fluency Gathering, 2016

Honoring tribes’ requests to meet with language visionaries, MICA has coordinated and helped to fund 12 on-site tribal community language programs, awarding each a grant of $10,000. Jacob Manatowa-Bailey (Sauk), and Leslie Harper (Ojibwe), President of the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs, consulted with the tribes’ language leaders at no cost, and provided each with written recommendations.

After three years of community consults, listening sessions and fact-finding, MICA is creating professional development pathways for young Native language leaders, including a Language Leadership Institute (LLI). For more information, email .

Funders: Kataly Foundation and Walt Disney Corporation

Representative Consulting Project Results:

  • Project 1 hired a full-time Ojibwe Language and Culture Coordinator who has brought together current language and culture efforts, identified opportunities for growth, and developed a five-year Comprehensive Ojibwe Language and Culture Development Plan.

“The intentional creation of a sustainable plan to preserve and integrate Anishinaabe language, culture, and values into the daily lives of tribal members is helping our language to survive and thrive.”

  • Project 2 created a Language Restoration Program, enabling the Tribe to begin a comprehensive, long-term language restoration effort. The project consists of four phases: 1) dedicating staff and resources to a formal language program 2) developing structured language class curricula, and teaching materials 3) completing the Tribe’s written language orthography  4) offering language classes to adults to increase the level of fluency in the community.

“The project sparked a language interest in our community, where there was little before. Bringing in one of our respected elders to teach the classes engaged some of the middle-aged Quapaws who wanted the opportunity to learn from him. The books and jump drives ignited the curiosity and engagement of the younger Quapaws. [The project] has ultimately been the catalyst for the revitalization of our lost language.”

  • Project 3, whose language includes Arikara, Pawnee and Keechi, is critically endangered. One fluent speaker remains. The Tribe’s Next Steps project created a digital archive of their  language material collections and the recording of Dr. David Rood, a language researcher.  From the digital archive, the Tribe developed language teaching materials.
  • Project 4 secured unprecedented tribal funding and developed a Master-Apprentice language revitalization program.

“[We are] incredibly grateful for the support we have received from Jacob, Next Steps, and several tribal officials for this endeavor.”

  • Project 5 created formal partnerships that transformed their language revitalization efforts with three new direct hires to form a language development team.

“Thank you so much MICA! You are awesome! This was truly a group effort led by our elders who put their confidence and trust in us to co-facilitate the creation of our language department.” 

Comanche Nation language development team

Comanche Nation language development team

Language Grantmaking

MICA has awarded 159 language revitalization grants to 73 tribal language programs. Our grants have a documented 94% successful completion rate.

Delaware Tribe of Indians (OK)
Speaking Across Generations

Our project addressed MICA’s Pathways on a Language Landscape’s Recommendation #7: “Teaching; Training.” We added new words, phrases, lessons, and stories into the Lenape Talking Dictionary (, a function of the tribe’s language program and a link from the tribe’s website, and developed, taught, and recorded scripts of brief conversations using words and terms in the Lenape language.

“We now have three new speakers at beginner proficiency level; one speaker at intermediate proficiency level; and one at partial proficiency level. One grandmother now uses these lessons and word lists to teach her five granddaughters at home on a daily basis.”

Jena Band children's language class

Jena Band children’s language class

Jena Band of Choctaw Indians (LA)
Endangered Choctaw Language Emergency Revitalization Project

The last remaining Jena Elder language speaker recently passed away. The grant allowed us to create a language revitalization action plan. We secured a fluent Choctaw-speaking language instructor from Oklahoma to implement the plan. Our second grant allowed us to serve tribal children and tribal members outside the Tribe’s service area, including Children’s/Beginner Skype language classes, Intermediate Skype classes, Master-Apprentice classes, and to host youth language events focused on the connection of language and culture.

“The Language Program students have become their own family within the Tribe. [The project] brought positivity to a very bleak situation that the Tribe was facing, having no fluent Chahta Anumpa speakers in the community.”

Catawba Indian Nation (SC)
Catawba Language Project

The Catawba Language Project consolidated, annotated, and archived existing linguistic resources on the Catawba Language to make them readily available to all community members. The project brought together language stakeholders to create a Language Working Group to advise and build consensus around language revitalization. Working with our linguist and the Language Working Group, our project developed a series of eight conversational Catawba lessons. These have been implemented through classes and made available through our online archival website.

“MICA’s support of our language project came at a crucial time in our language work. In addition to continuing the project, we were able to expand our educational offerings, particularly for our children.”

Coushatta Tribe (LA)
Oliiyaak Ittooyat Intoliinas Konnaathiihilkak Skonakath-kiyahiis (Let Us All Work Together So Our Language Will Not Be Lost)

Our project developed a safe and permanent space for our tribal language, Koasati, to be spoken, taught, heard, and disseminated without English language intrusion. We developed a Koasati immersion workspace and teaching environment, installed Koasati-language cultural exhibits, cultural displays, workshops and trainings, daily Koasati media transmission, and a library for Koasati teaching and learning resources.

“The Language Landscape project provided us with a permanent facility vital to our language goals.”

Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians (OR)
Cow Creek Takelma Language Revitalization Project

We developed new language curricula to support community language learning and hired a qualified consultant to analyze and process historic linguistic documents currently in the Tribe’s possession. The data enhanced the existing Takelma language database and updated the draft Takelma dictionary.
“With the research and outputs that have resulted from [the project], tribal members have hope that there will be native Takelma speakers again.”

Hopi immersion pre-school

Hopi immersion pre-school

Hopi Tribe (AZ)
Hopitutuqaiki Hopi Language Immersion Preschool Development Grant

A comprehensive study of Hopi language use in 2013 concluded that the use of the Hopi language is declining rapidly, but that it is not too late to prevent the loss of our language. This project helped fund a Facilitator position, training, and community input opportunities to support the development of a Hopi language immersion preschool.

“The school now has a location and is staffed part-time. This has increased awareness and attendance and allowed Hopitutuqaiki to pursue additional funding.”

Hualapai Tribe (AZ)
Hualapai Head Start Language Immersion Program

Our grant enabled us to create a Language Immersion Program at the Hualapai Reservation Head Start. We hired two fluent Hualapai speakers to assist the Language Program Manager. The fluent speakers now both teach classes. We created age-appropriate immersion curricular materials and trained the current Head Start classroom teachers in curriculum implementation.

“[This project] has been important in spearheading immersion learning in the community. It allowed us to initiate immersion with the youngest generation at the beginning stages of language acquisition, a crucial stage noted by language experts.”

Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians (AZ)
Kai-vi-vits Language Preservation Project

We documented our language through oral history recordings of first-language Paiute speakers. We also hosted two Kai-vi-vits “Living Language Elders Socials – An evening of speaking Paiute” for first-language speakers, to show them they are respected, their knowledge is valued, and that sharing the language is important. This project also enabled the Tribe to continue work on the Southern Paiute Kaibab Oral Dictionary.

“[This project] has provided the spark our tribe needed to reinvent our language program and consider alternatives to traditional classroom teaching, including online learning opportunities through audio and video recordings.”

Koi Nation of Northern California
Wi xaytsnoo Mowatith (Let’s Speak Wood Words/Let’s Speak Our Language)

Our MICA grant enabled us to bring our language elder to our office to work directly with our linguist. We were able to record and video our Elder and hold classes for our citizens to communicate in our own language.

“[The project] has had tremendous meaning to our people. To work with our youth, and having them appreciate the efforts put forward by all involved, to hear first-hand the words of our people, is a blessing.”

Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (WI)
Maintenance and Team Building at Lac Courte Oreilles

This project built on an existing partnership between the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe and the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute. It provided partial funding for a teacher and curriculum development leadership team to plan and strategize continued development of the teacher training curriculum design. In addition, the project funded partial rehabilitation and repair of a building that houses part of the Institute.

Pueblo of Ysleta del Sur (TX)/Pueblo of Isleta (NM)
Joint Pueblo Language Project

Community members from both Pueblos have made concerted efforts to reverse patterns of language loss. This project included weekly adult classes, a pre-K curriculum, dialogue with fluent speakers at Isleta Pueblo, and with the assistance of a linguist, the creation of a standardized alphabet, a community dictionary, and a collection of detailed grammatical descriptions of the language.

“[This project] has made it possible to cement relationships between language learners and educators at Ysleta del Sur Pueblo with fluent speakers at Isleta Pueblo.”

Tunica Biloxi cultural lifeways workshop

Tunica Biloxi cultural lifeways workshop

Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana (2 projects)
Tribal Language Project

Our project supported language educational programs to increase the number of proficient Tunica language speakers and increase programmatic materials, such as linguistic texts, manuals, curricula, and other training resources to promote ongoing Tunica language usage and fluency.

Tunica Language Project

In partnership with Tulane University, our project built on a body of resource and pedagogical materials to expand training opportunities, weekly language classes, cultural life-ways workshops, language camps, and outreach events. 46 tribal youth were served.

“[The project] has helped our language program build resources to sustain teaching of the Tunica language.”

Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation (CA) (2 projects)
Living Language Circle Conference

The Living Language Circle builds and strengthens the relationships between Native language teachers in California. The conference is run by tribal language teachers uniquely focused on tribal language programs. Working together to identify challenges facing the implementation of Native language programs, we explore topics for further networking, such as curriculum development, technology, and credentialing. As we learn and share with neighboring tribes, we increase our strengths as language teachers within independent sovereign nations. With this project, we anchored the financial stability of the conference, the only state-wide conference for Native language teachers.

“We created a safe, intimate, and unique forum for building relationships for native language teachers throughout the state. In addition, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation (YDWN) learned how to work with high schools where the Patwin language for high school students could be used to meet the “foreign language” requirement.  As a result, we teach four YDWN Citizens at a local high school three days per week.”

“As a result of this project, we continued to have the Living Language Circle each year thereafter. It has provided momentum for other Tribes to revitalize their languages.  It was much more successful than envisioned.”

Hill Patwin Dictionary

This project created a Patwin dictionary as part of the Tribe’s language revitalization program.  Yocha Dehe has only one remaining speaker living in our community; we have been working with the speaker and a linguist for eight years on the dictionary.  Printed and digital versions of the dictionary were created.

Tuscarora Nation (NY)
Tuscarora Language Immersion Project

The Tuscarora and the Mohawk languages are quite similar, belonging to the same Iroquoian language family, but have their own dialects. Our project took the highly successful Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa Mohawk (OKM) language immersion program and used it as a template to translate and develop supplemental instructional resources for the 11 units of our Year 1 curriculum in the Tuscarora language.

“The language knowledge gained allowed our program to be hired to develop and provide language materials to Tuscarora people in Canada. These funds were then used to support other Tuscarora language projects.”

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan
Anishinaabemowin Language Immersion House

Our MICA grant supported the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe in renovating and furnishing a Tribally-owned property for use as an Immersion House to teach our language in a family home setting. The family setting allows us to encourage a contextualized use of our language in daily life.

“On this tenth anniversary of the establishment of our language revitalization efforts, we were able to take the next step in our language revitalization, bringing the language literally back into the home by creating an Anishinaabemowin Language Immersion House, Enji nibwaachaweng.”

Quartz Valley Indian Reservation (CA) (2 projects)
Quartz Valley Indian Reservation Language Recovery Project

This project supported a comprehensive language assessment and Karuk Language Preservation Plan to develop and implement a successful language program.

AXVAAM – Karuk word for “Acorn”

The AXVAAM project recruited an experienced, fluent Karuk language teacher to establish sustainable language delivery forums. AXVAAM facilitates a comprehensive approach with one-on-one and group instruction.

“Our younger generation now feels more comfortable reading, speaking, and hearing our language. We have been able to create a bridge between our Elders and youth and have transformed our entire culture program.”

Puyallup Tribe of Indians (WA)

The MICA grant allowed us to produce literacy materials (books, flashcards, board games, labels, eBooks, and web materials), classroom signage, and signage for the Puyallup Tribal community to support the efforts of txʷəlšucid language revitalization.

“We have no first language speakers of the Lushootseed Language here with us today, so for us to create something at this capacity and share it with our community is a huge win not only for the Puyallup Tribe, but for the Lushootseed language.”

Chemehuevi Indian Tribe (AZ)
Preserving Our Chemehuevi Language, Culture and Music

This grant enabled our Tribe to revitalize the Salt Songs of the Chemehuevi and Southern Paiute through a “Salt Songs  Apprenticeship Project,” by employing mentors to teach apprentices the entire cycle of Salt Songs. We also conducted research at the Isabel Kelly Archive and developed language curriculum materials including CDs and flashcards.

Lower Sioux Indian Community (MN)
Cansayapi: Extending the Language

Our project extended Dakota language opportunities so that 100+ students, family members, and at-large community members can learn, speak, and celebrate Dakota language at home and in the community.

“[The project] helped us begin to archive our language so the community can access and speak the language from anywhere they are.”

Nez Perce children's outdoor classroom

Nez Perce children’s outdoor classroom

Nez Perce Tribe (ID) (2 projects)
Niimíipuum Tit’wáatit Curriculum Project

We designed and implemented an interagency, hands-on curriculum connecting Nez Perce land, language, culture, and tradition with lesson-specific field trips and on-site activities at five important Nez Perce legend sites.

Nimíipuutimt Cukwenéewit: Living, Learning, and Teaching the Nez Perce Language

Three teacher trainees were hired to work closely with our language staff for a six-month period to become proficient in the Nez Perce language and immersive teaching style. The teacher training developed language fluency and teaching ability.

Ak-Chin Indian Community (AZ)
Ak-Chin Language Survey

Ak Chin developed a community language survey to identify levels of language fluency. The data collected was used to develop language classes held in their new Cultural Center.

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas
Language Revitalization Project

We revitalized the Alibamu dialect through learning techniques tailored to specific ages, audiences, and practical uses. We established quarterly opportunities for tribal members and employees to learn words and phrases with the goal of integrating them into daily conversations and for future use at community events.

Burns Paiute Tribe (OR)
Preserving Our Wadatika Yaduan (Wadatika Language) for the People

This language preservation project captured the verbal pronunciations of thousands of Northern Paiute words and phrases as spoken by the Wadatika Band of Northern Paiutes. Fluent Paiute speakers in the community were paired with Language Research Technicians trained in digital recording technology. The digital language recordings accompanied software applications including a Wadatika Yaduan “app” for language learning activities.

Cherokee Nation (OK)
Cherokee Nation’s Immersion Cornerstone Project

This grant made it possible for us provide digital and traditional resources to help teach the language in our immersion schools and all other learning communities.

Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Reservation (MT)
Chippewa Cree Tribe Language Preservation Project
We produced a Cree and English Language history in digital and paperback Storybook formats.

Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana
Language Revitalization Program

This grant assisted with salary expenses for language and cultural instructors in the Tribe’s Language Revitalization Program at the Yaamahana Child Development Center and the Tribal school, serving approximately 142 children.

Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation (WA)
Early Learning Chehalis Language Curriculum

We implemented a Chehalis language curriculum in the Tribe’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (WA)
Támayčt – Ground Oven Perpetuation Project

This grant supported CTUIR’s Language Program in creating a támayčt (‘earth oven’) video to document the process of gathering traditional raw materials for making an earth oven, the gathering of traditional First Foods – x̣máaš (‘camas’) and k̓ʷɨnč (‘edible tree moss’), the process of baking these First Foods in the támayčt, and sharing the First Foods with a feast.  The video documentation is entirely in the Ímatalam (‘Umatilla’) language and subtitled with English translation.

Delaware Nation of Oklahoma
Lenape Language and Traditions Outreach

We provided outreach materials to all Tribal citizens including a Delaware Nation Coloring Book, Delaware Nation calendar, and a Children’s Introduction to Delaware History to connect the community in language, traditional knowledge and lifeways.

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (SD)
Dakota Sioux Language Classes

Our Tribe created Dakota Sioux language classes for the Flandreau Indian School and Tribe.

Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation (AZ)
Biakwáawao Recording and Teaching the Yavapai Language

This grant made it possible for us to purchase audio-visual equipment to record individuals speaking in Yavapai about the history and culture of the Fort McDowell Yavapai and for consultants to use in developing a Yavapai language app.

Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes (MT)
Revitalization of the Nakona/Nakoda and Dakota languages

With this grant, we furthered our vision of developing a Tribal Immersion School. This vision foretells our youth being embraced daily with our cultural ways of knowing, speaking our language, hearing our creation stories, understanding and perpetuating our history, singing our traditional songs, sharing our ways of dance, and living and perpetuating our seven sacred rites of Pte San Win (White Buffalo Calf Woman).

Ione Band of Miwok Indians (CA)
Language Revitalization and Cultural Preservation Project

We created the first set of edited and transcribed digital audio clips for Miwok language learning.

Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas
Preserving and Protecting Project

We developed materials for use at the Kickapoo Nation Language Classroom and provided outreach and awareness material for use in the classroom and throughout the Kickapoo Reservation.

Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (MI)
Head Start and Early Head Start Ojibwe Language Instruction

This grant made it possible for us to collaborate with the Tribal Historic Preservation Department to hire an Ojibwe Language Instructor for the children, families, and staff of our Band’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (MI)
Anishinaabek Language and Cultural Series

We offered four cultural indoor and outdoor teaching and learning experiences designed to explore and extend a variety of cultural/traditional lessons, teachings, activities, demonstrations and presentations utilizing Anishinaabemowin.

Menominee Indian Tribe (WI)
Expand Menominee Language Training and Assessment Through Technology

With our grant, we developed a cloud service branch within our Tribal Cloud Database Service by collaboratively constructing a database with another parallel grant which supplied Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality devices along with multiple learning modules for the database.

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
Myaamiaataweenki: Preparing Language Teachers in the Neepwaankiita Certificate Program

The grant helped us further develop the language component and teacher training manual as part of the larger Neepwaankiita Certificate Program (NCP). We were able to increase language proficiency among community program teachers through a well-designed series of hands-on immersion style workshops led by individuals who specialize in Indigenous second language practices and pedagogy. A teacher training curriculum was created and prepared for program delivery in June 2020.

North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians (CA)
E-tu-kweet Neum (Teaching Mono)

We archived tribal records to protect against catastrophic fire, ensured tribal resource teachers, and completed and recorded Elder phonetic readings of the Tribal language dictionary.

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians (MI)
Expand Language and Traditional Knowledge

With this grant, we were able to preserve and expand cultural language and traditional knowledge within the community by implementing a plan including language classes and activities, interpretive signage throughout the Pine Creek Reservation, and a digitization station for preserving historical documents.

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
Language and Cultural Broadcasting System

We conducted feasibility planning and consulting for an Oneida broadcasting system emphasizing language and culture.

Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pauma and Yuma Reservation (CA)
Tukmit and Tomaiyowit (“Father and Mother”) Language Revitalization of the Pauma Luiseno

We collaborated with Tribal language speakers, college students, and youth to create new language programs to be used by children, youth, and adults in the community to increase fluency beyond simple words. We also introduced the Indigenous science of stars and planets in the oral tradition.

Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Pawnee Language Curriculum, Materials and Proficiency Standards Development

The Pawnee Nation seeks language proficiency. Only a handful of tribal members are proficient. This project is the first step of a long-term process.  A young tribal member, who is a linguist, standardized the writing of the language and developed a curriculum. Remaining Pawnee speakers participated in the project.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
Children’s Language Materials Project

The Pokagon Band developed high quality interactive digital language materials for young children, using fluent Potawatomi speakers. The materials improved the children’s language skills, and by association, family members’ language skills.

Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
Ponca Language Restoration Project

Our Tribe developed online resources, flash cards, workbooks, worksheets, and Ponca stories. We provided language lessons to youth and adults at five office sites throughout the Ponca Tribe’s service delivery area.

Prairie Band of Potawatomi (KS)
Language and Cultural Education Center Project

We implemented a project to save and revitalize Potawatomi language and culture through development of a Language and Cultural Education Center.

Prairie Island Indian Community (MN)
Language Revitalization

Our project developed a Dakota language immersion class/nest with Dakota language-speaking staff and Dakota Elders, expanding language instruction from periodic exposure to a classroom immersive language nest.  The project is open to all community members but focused on pre-school age children and youth.

Pueblo of Isleta (NM)
Preserving the Isleta Language

Our Pueblo conducted a systematic review of all Tiwa materials. Records, written and recorded, were digitized, organized, and entered into a linguistic database.  The Tribe intends to eventually use these materials, along with the help of fluent speakers and linguists, to produce a community curriculum for Isletan Tiwa.

Pueblo of Laguna (NM) (2 projects)
K’waik ame – Culturally Replenishing the People of the Lake

We conducted a language and cultural assessment to create baseline data on Keresan language speakers and traditional knowledge and created a foundation for a future Heritage Preservation Management Program including practical historic preservation or restoration of villages.

A Brighter K’awaika-meh-shia (Laguna Language) Horizon

The Pueblo of Laguna and Laguna Department of Education project unified disjointed tribal efforts toward language revitalization and developed a formalized partnership to focus resources toward sustainability.

Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians (CA) (2 projects)
Language Preservation and Revitalization Project

The Tribe worked with Mountain Cahuilla speakers to develop workbooks and other tools to teach the Mountain Cahuilla dialect.

Obtaining Cahuilla Documents and Recordings from National Archives

Our second grant allowed the Ramona Band to acquire historical archival documents and recordings of the language and songs of their Band from the National Archives. The recordings were used as a basis for the revival, documentation, and development of the Ramona culture and language.

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of Minnesota
Creating a Linguistic Landscape for the Red Lake Nation

The Red Lake Nation identified important places, facilities, natural areas, and other locations across Red Lake Reservation to promote the Ojibwe language in visual format, using signage.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (AZ)
Creating Early Reader Print and Digital Storybooks in Two Tribal Languages

Our MICA grant enabled us to create and develop a set of bilingual early reader storybooks in the O’odham and Piipaash languages. Five sets of storybooks were produced, each with original artwork created by tribal members, and with language content developed by language staff members working with tribal elders.

Samish Indian Nation (WA) (2 projects)
Growing Language

We provided a language immersion camp to bring youth, adults and the three remaining Elders who are fluent Samish speakers together for five days of extended language learning at the site of one of Samish’s oldest historic villages.

Sqw’ó7 tse Mekw’stáng Project – Everything is Connected: Our Language and Culture are One

The Samish Language Program’s vision is to cultivate true bilingual speakers who use our language to nourish their own identity, spirituality, and connection to place. Through this grant, we were able to develop achievable next steps with clear objectives and a sustainable workplan to reach our tribe’s vision for the Samish language.

Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians (CA) (2 projects)
Chem How’wai’wah – Our Language Project

We worked with a linguist to develop curricula for Tribal youth and identified Tribal members to facilitate classes and after-school programs to teach the Cahuilla language. We worked with Cahuilla Elders to oversee and advise the linguist and the Tribal member facilitators.

Chem How’wai’wa – Our Language: Cahuilla Language Revitalization on the Santa Rosa Indian Reservation

The Cahuilla language was once spoken throughout Cahuilla territory in what is now Riverside/San Bernardino/San Diego Counties, but there are now fewer than five fluent Cahuilla speakers in this community.  This grant was a continuation of our first MICA grant, which funded language classes. Our second grant expanded these successful Cahuilla language classes by using “Go To Meeting” technology that allows the linguist to teach students virtually.  It also allowed Cahuilla people from other Reservations to participate in the language classes.

Santee Sioux (NE)
Isanti Daunkotapi K’a Unnipikte! “We are the Isanti Dakota – We Want to Live!”

We retained a consultant to assist the Nation, which has 5-7 remaining speakers, develop an on-going Dakota language project.

Shoshone Bannock Tribes (WY)

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Language and Preservation Department preserved, translated, digitized and archived recordings of the Bannock and Shoshone language made over a fifteen-year period in the 1950’s by Swedish Linguist Sven Liljeblad on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The recordings and field notes were digitized and transcribed into English for future use by Tribal members.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (SD)
Sisseton Wahpeton College Dakota Language Family Nest

The Dakota language family nest provided the opportunity for five families from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate to attend Dakota language and culture programming twice a week for an academic year. The project has transformed language revitalization efforts within the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.   

Skokomish Indian Tribe (WA)
Twana Comprehensive Dictionary Model

The Skokomish Twana Comprehensive Dictionary was created by utilizing past versions of the dictionary and the knowledge of a linguist, the Culture Committee, a language teacher, Elders and students. A significant long-term outcome was the creation of a teaching tool.

Spokane Tribe of Indians (WA) (2 projects)
Language Curricula Development for Immersion School Setting

We hired a Language Program Assistant to scan, archive, compile and organize language/cultural materials to create a database and two comprehensive curricula, one for pre-school children and a second for their parents and grandparents so they can learn along with the children.

sq,wel’umt: Traditional Stories

This project created four computerized traditional stories. These interactive stories were generated as an enhancement to the curriculum and current lessons. They enhanced the language listening and speaking skills of students and parents. The Storyteller software program is interactive, consisting of illustrations, audio and printed language, with Salish-to-English translations.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (ND)
WóhitiA Innovation & Technology Expansion (WITʼÉ – New Moon) Project

This grant enabled us to complete important renovations for the new Standing Rock Sioux Language School.

Table Mountain Rancheria (CA)
Yokuts Language Preservation and Revitalization Program

We video/audio recorded a Choinumni Elder, one of 12 remaining speakers of the Choinumni language and completed Choinumni/English dictionary.

Tohono O’odham Nation (AZ)
Wa:k O’odham Ni’oki Language Revitalization

The grant was used to continue our language revitalization project initiated under our previous MICA grant with additional bi­monthly sessions.

Tonto Apache Tribe (AZ)
Language Initiative

The grant allowed the Tonto Apache Tribe to start language classes for both youth and adults.  The Tribe engaged a gifted linguist who directed the development of the classes, assisted speakers in building their teaching skills, and provided input into sustainable language learning strategies on the reservation. 6-12 fluent Apache speakers remain. A second component created a resource center to help tribal members develop a community-driven strategic plan for language revitalization.

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (OK)
Tribal Language Education Project

The grant allowed us to develop and produce language education materials, translation and interpretation services, hire teachers to serve as educators, liaisons, and interpreters, and who provide assistance to Tribal members and the general public.

Wilton Rancheria (CA) (2 projects)
Miwok Language Development and Revitalization Project

We documented words, phrases, stories and cultural information and created a database, taught Tribal members Plains Miwok, Nisena, and Central Sierra Miwok.

Tele:li (Oak Tree) – Language, Culture, and Land Revitalization and Protection

Our grant developed and implemented a language revitalization project with the Northern Sierra and Plains Miwok dialects. It supported the Cultural Planning Committee’s efforts to bring back other cultural traditions and events including song, dance, storytelling, hand games, regalia making, and youth-based programs.    The Miwok language holds cultural identity, connecting us to our ancestors, land and history.

Wyandotte Indian Nation (OK)
Words and Things: Wyandotte Language and Our Material Culture

The tribe’s new heritage center is home to a growing collection of cultural objects and also houses language preservation. This project supported the opportunity to conduct a long overdue inventory and evaluation of our language collection. The collection items were developed into an online language-teaching exhibit that uses items collected since the 1980’s.

Yavapai-Apache Nation (AZ)
Advancing Cultural Education and Language Revitalization

Our project addressed loss of language and cultural tradition approaching three generations. Yavapai-Apache held a cultural planning retreat which designed new projects, developed lesson plans and piloted new activities to advance cultural education within the community.

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