Over half of the world’s languages are endangered. The Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages is working with Native Americans to revitalize their languages before they are gone forever. During a two-week program, participants will connect with libraries, archives and museums to support language learning and teaching. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will host Breath of Life workshops June 9–21, enabling activists from North American indigenous endangered-language communities to partner with linguists to navigate archives, locate and acquire documents, interpret writing systems and transform archival materials into practical lessons for language learning.
“Washington is an ideal place for the Breath of Life because we have access to the collections of the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress,” said Ruth Rouvier, Recovering Voices program manager.
The Breath of Life Institute is based on the model developed for California languages in the early 1990s by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. The 2013 Institute, like the one held in Washington, D.C., in 2011, will replicate the Berkeley model.
“Because the Breath of Life will be held by a public institution and because we want to foster future conversation, we hope to engage a wider audience through online media,” said Lisa Conathan, co-director of the 2013 Institute.
The conference will document much of the process and make it available through online channels. One of the main difficulties in language revitalization is building a community of speakers. By documenting the event, the Breath of Life organizers hope to create a resource for future generations interested in language revitalization.
Wenona Gardner‘s insight:
I was accepted into the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages and assigned to the Eastern Alongquian Team.
I was pleased to discover that Mohican News ran an article about our Breath of Life Archival Institute of Indigenous Languages project. An invitation was made to anyone that wants to participate in the Breath of Life by coming to Mohican-8 to be part of this community project.
I have been doing research since I was 15 years old on my own. I love interviewing family relatives and doing all kinds of research. I have been doing genealogy research for 24 years. I was accepted into the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages where I get to go to Washington DC to search through the Library of Congress archives and the Smithsonian archives searching for Munsee language. In addition, I am told I can also search for genealogy while I am there.
So what I am offering the opportunity to come benefit from the genealogy and Munsee language research I have already begun and will continue in the archives in Washington D.C. I will be searching for Lenape and Delaware as part of my research. I am sure I will uncover Unami language archival resources. I am inviting anyone who wants to be involved with the Breath of Life project to come join me at Mohican-8. Let me know you are interested in working on Breath of Life with me.
I envision Breath of Life to be an Intertribal Communtiy project on Munsee language and genealogy that can potentially benefit the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Nation, the Pennsylvania Lenape Nation, the Ramapough Munsee Lunaape Nation, Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape , Munsee-Delaware Nation 1, the Moravian of the Thames First Nation, and the Delaware of Six Nations, Delaware Nation and the Delaware Tribe of Indian both located in Oklahoma.
Wenona Morning Star Gardner
Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Nation
Leader of Mohican-8
I have been accepted in the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages. I will be going to Washington DC to explore the Archives of the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institute looking for my tribe’s language.
I totally loved Julia Cameron’s The Prosperous Heart. Going through the book I saw the value of my BA in Business and Management degree from Alverno and was inspired to begin work on my business plan. I found a friend from my Artist’s Way Circle who lives in Ohio who was willing to go through the Right Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee with me week by week through Google+ Hangouts. So far we have spent 9 weeks working through our business plan. I love my friend and together we explored our our value and laid down our individual prosperity plans. Thanks to the Prosperous Heart I also saw the value of my leadership skills so I signed up for more leadership roles. Thanks to the Prosperous Heart, I am now the Organizer of The Artist’s Way Circle Meetup in Waukesha, the Life Story Circle Meetup in Waukesha, and Waukesha Gaming Group Meetup in Waukesha. I realized Prosperous Heart empowered me to take on these new leadership positions. Prosperous Heart helped me to value my time and the benefit of volunteering to serve others. Through the Counting Tool I recognized I spent way too much money on eating out and so I cut back on that so I could put money towards a trip. Through the encouragement of Prosperous Heart, I also dared to apply for new opportunities and won a chance to go to Washington D.C.to search for my tribe’s Munsee language in the Library of Congress and Smithsonian archives. I loved hearing Julia Cameron explain each chapter. I draw strength from Julia Cameron’s words. I love many of Julia Cameron’s work including The Artist’s Way, Walking in This World, Finding Water, The Artist’s Way at Work, The Writing Diet, and now Prosperous Heart.
I wanted to share with you that I have been accepted in the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages. They received over 200 applicants but they had only 60 spots. I have been assigned to the Eastern Algonquian Team headed by Linguist Dr Conor Quinn. I have been doing research on him and he seems very knowledgeable. I will be going June 8-June 21 in Washington D.C to search archives looking for the Munsee language.