Steps in Language Documentation

Instructor(s):
Tamara Alexander
Susan Gehr
Julian Lang
Emilio Tripp
Crystal Richardson
Ruth Rouvier
Keren Rice

Course Information:
The goal of this workshop is for participants to come away with a basic understanding of what it means to be an indigenous language learner in today's world, and a conceptual understanding of how to collaborate in the creation and implementation of relevant endangered language projects/programs while working in Indian Country today. We will do this by relating the stories of our current Karuk Master/Apprentice Documentation Project, as well as relevant stories spanning the last three generations of Karuk language workers and the linguists who have helped along the way.  It is our hope that we will be able to inspire every participant, whether linguist, Indigenous person, Indigenous linguist, scholar or friend, to create a work plan or list of ideas for future steps in their own language revitalization work.  The members of our project also wish to share pointers on how we have been able to overcome those trials and tribulations which have occurred over the course of our work; with the intent of helping workshop participants be able to increase their own project efficiency.  We will touch on and relate to topics covered in depth by other InField workshops.  Specific topics include choosing and developing culturally relevant documentation; identifying, designing, funding and modifying language documentation projects; the linguist's role in tribal language revitalization; and working with elders.

Course Documents:
How to Design a Documentation Project  

Instructor(s) Bio(s):
Tamara Alexander
I am a Karuk Tribal member. I work with the language program as an apprentice. My master speaker is my grandma Lucille Albers. I am enjoying learning about my culture. I am a Head Start Teacher Assistant at the Karuk Tribal Head Start, and what I learn I pass on to the children.

Susan Gehr
Karuk tribal descendant and language learner
I provide technology and linguistics consulting to the Karuk Language Documentation Project. I have an MA in Linguistics from the University of Oregon. Most of my work on Karuk these days involves the Karuk dictionary. Because I wanted to learn how to better organize, care for and provide access to the Karuk language materials the Karuk Tribe has collected and developed over the years, I have started a Masters in Library and Information Science, with a specialization in archival studies, from San José State University.

Julian Lang
Karuk tribal member
Language master.
I am a multi-media artist (digital creative) as well as being a Karuk language speaker. As a result I have been focussing on organizing and producing video programs that feature the Karuk language. My apprentice helps in developing the storyboards and scripts, in videotaping, acting, and until springtime has helped to edit the raw footage. All raw footage and recordings are ultimately package and archived by the apprentice. All productions derive from the one on one documentation (discussions) between my apprentice and myself.
www.julianlang.com
www.instituteofnativeknowledge.org

Emilio Tripp
Karuk and Language Learner
I am a beginner Karuk language learner working as an apprentice with master speaker Julian Lang.  I work with him over long distance learning sessions using the one-on-one video conferencing program Skype.  I prepare for topic sessions and also record label Audio Video and have just begun to learn some of the video editing software.  I was exposed to Karuk language at a young age, I received some school setting Karuk learning in the 8th-12th grades but my ability is still limited to only single words and phrases and rarely complete sentences.  The school setting learning really enabled me to feel comfortable with pronunciation of the Karuk Language but the next step is to actually speak and understand Karuk to the point where it can be a living language once again.

Crystal Richardson
Karuk Tribal Member
Language Apprentice
My name is Uxnahich, my wide-rim-hat-person name is Crystal.  I'm a rivers indian from the village of ípunvarum.  I am also a language worker who has become a techi./documentarian via necessity and osmosis.  I've been formally studying my language for the last seven years, informally studying Karuk since around 3 years old when I was moved back into my ancestral territory after my father graduated college in 1987.  My language teachers have been my paternal aunt Nancy Steele; my friend, former language master, and current teacher Julian Lang; my friend, mentor, and current informal language master Vina Smith; my first language master, the beloved Leland Donahue (who passed in 2008); and my current language masters via the Karuk tribes language documentation project, Sonny Davis and Charlé Thom(teachers listed in order of appearance in my life).

I am a upriver person who has been created by the last couple generations.  I do not remember a time without ceremony, and I do remember a time when I could sit at the feet of old ladies and hear Karuk chatter and laughter ringing through the trees.  Language has never been the most important thing for me, continuity and culturally correct completeness has been my primary motivation and ultimate goals.  I've been documenting my language learning for those generations of the future who might not be so teacher-rich as my generation has been…  By documenting our peoples language, and our talk and oral histories I am helping to ensure future generations will have access to the wit and wisdom I work so hard to have access to myself.

Ruth Rouvier
Language Program Coordinator
I was hired by the Karuk Tribe in 2008 to implement the Karuk Master/Apprentice Documentation Project. I have a BA and MA in Linguistics from UC Berkeley, and have worked with indigenous communities in California and Nicaragua on language documentation and revitalization. As a non-Tribal member, my role in the project is as an administrator and facilitator of language documentation and restoration activities. I work with Tribal, community and academic partners to support the ongoing efforts of Tribal members to document, teach, learn and use the Karuk language.

Keren Rice (University of Toronto; Organizing Committee and taught, InField 2008) has done extensive fieldwork in northern Canada and was awarded the first Bloomfield Book Award for her Grammar of Slave, published by Mouton de Gruyter. She has been involved in community-based fieldwork and teaching, designed a course on language revitalization, and oversaw the development of a website on fieldwork. She is editor of the International Journal of American Linguistics. She served a term on the governing board of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council in Canada as well as a term as president of the Canadian Linguistic Association, and she currently is co-chair of the Program Committee of the Linguistic Society of America. She has organized many international conferences. She was founding director of Aboriginal Studies at the University of Toronto, a post that she held for fifteen years.

                                                     Updated June 24, 2010 5:38 pm