Indigenous languages

These Authors Are Writing in Indigenous Languages to Keep Native Traditions Alive

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These Authors Are Writing in Indigenous Languages to Keep Native Traditions Alive

By October 12, 2015

Those who write books in indigenous languages are not in it for the E.L. James money or fame. Javier Castellanos, who won the 2002 Premio Nacional de Literatura Indígena Nezahualcóyotl, said that authors of books in indigenous languages rarely have critics, let alone readers. Despite the modest audience for the work, the importance can’t be overstated. It’s one way that native languages are being kept alive.

Castellanos, with the help of Jóvenes Creadores del Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, tutors a group of young writers who have been working on ambitious and completely badass projects. There’s Pergentino José from Oaxaca, who plans to take the oral stories and traditions of Zapoteco de Loxicha into stories that can be held. For Elizabeth Sáenz Díaz, it’s about writing stories so that newer generations can continue to have a connection to Zoque.

Because it’s impressive to hear about these projects, we’ve compiled a list of five writers who are holding it down for the indigenous populations. Read More…

Original Article:

Indigenous translation of UN Declaration of Human Rights

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 Indigenous translation of UN Declaration of Human Rights

ANU Researcher Dr Sarah Holcombe has translated the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights into the central-Australian language of Pintupi-Luritja. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU.

Thursday 22 October 2015

A researcher at The Australian National University (ANU) has translated the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) into the central-Australian language of Pintupi-Luritja, making it the first time the world’s most translated document has been made available in an Aboriginal language.

The translation of the document’s 30 articles and preamble took more than two years and involved working closely with Pintupi-Luritja translators and stakeholder groups.

Project Leader and social anthropologist Dr Sarah Holcombe said the process of translating the document was revealing.

“Very few Anangu people (Pintupi-Luritja speakers) had heard of universal human rights,” Dr Holcombe, from the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, said.

“Many were surprised at the fact that Aboriginal people are equal to all other people, because the fact is that is not the way they are treated.

“The articles about the rule of law, for example that all should be innocent until proven guilty and that the law should be treating all people equally, are apocryphal when applied to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.”

The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 as the first global expression of human rights. It has been translated into more than 460 languages.

Dr Holcombe said the UDHR was developed following the Second World War and was foundational to western law and culture.

“The mass atrocities after the Second World War horrified the world and there was wide recognition that there needed to be fundamental standards of human dignity,” she said.

“These standards are now in international law. They include the right to equality, freedom of religion, free speech, the right to vote and so on.

“Though we are the only western democratic country without a national bill or charter of rights, we are a signatory to the major international conventions that enshrine these rights.

“All these fundamental elements of our life that we all take for granted, are embedded in this document. It forms part of a contract of citizenship”.

“Yet, Aboriginal people, in remote areas especially, have not been widely exposed to this contract, as it exists in the mainstream. They don’t take rights for granted.”

Dr Holcombe said she hoped the new translation would help spread awareness of human rights in Indigenous Australia and begin a conversation in language.

“Anangu have a right to know this document exists. I want it to offer people possibilities. It was meant to be an educational document after all,” she said.

The project team working with Dr Holcombe were Lance Macdonald and Sheila Joyce Dixon (of Papunya) and linguist Ken Hansen.

Link to Pintupi translation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (279K PDF)

New First Nations and Endangered Languages Program FNEL website

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New First Nations and Endangered Languages Program FNEL website:

FNEL are grateful to the Musqueam Language and Culture Department and UBC Arts ISIT for their support and guidance during our redesign process, and they hope that you will enjoy the result as much as they have enjoyed building it. Thier renewed web platform is full of information about the program, including news features, resources, community partnerships, course offerings and faculty research initiatives.

This is an exciting year for the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program! Offering a range of new and innovative courses and strengthened academic partnerships with the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program under the new Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies (CIS). The Institute is an interdisciplinary research unit for Indigenous critical theory and politics, arts research, and applied social practice within the humanities and social sciences at UBC.

Stay tuned for more news and events from FNEL and CIS. To receive news about their program and announcements of events, please subscribe to thier mailing list by sending an email to with “FNEL-UBC mailing list” in the subject line.

FNEL would love to hear from you if you have thoughts or comments about their website, and FNEL will be grateful if you could help spread the news about the Program and the courses through your networks on social media.

With all good wishes,
The Faculty and Staff at the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program

Site URL:

Job – Lecturer II – Department of Linguistics Navajo Language Program, University of New ACMexico. Due: Oct 26, 2015

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The University of New Mexico Department of Linguistics

Position Summary:

The Department of Linguistics Navajo Language Program at the University of New Mexico announces a search for a Lecturer II to begin working January 11, 2016. The position is contingent upon final budgetary approval. Responsibilities include:

1)      teaching undergraduate courses in Navajo,

2)      developing Navajo language curricular materials,

3)      advising students pursuing the minor in Navajo,

4)      program recruitment, and

5)      service to the department

Minimum qualifications:

  •        Master’s degree in hand at time of application in Linguistics, Native American Studies, Education, or related field.
  •        Experience teaching Navajo with Navajo as the language of instruction in K-12, college or university settings.

Preferred qualifications:

  •        Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success, as well as working with broadly diverse communities.
  •        Conversational fluency in Navajo sufficient for teaching environment.
  •        Ability to read and write in Navajo.
  •        Experience in developing curricular materials for teaching Navajo.
  •        Documented experience working in partnership with Navajo educational institutions.
  •        Ability to work effectively with students and colleagues.
  •        Ability to assume administrative duties and to mentor part-time instructors as needed.
  •        Expertise in the use of technology to support instruction.

Date for best consideration: October 26, 2015

Closing date:  Open until filled

Please direct all inquiries to: Professor Mary Willie,

For details about the application requirements or to apply, visit the UNMJobs website: Please reference Posting Number 0832338.

University of New Mexico is committed to promoting and supporting the diversity of our campuses. UNM is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

CFP – 17th Annual American Indian Studies Association Conference, Due: Oct. 15, 2015

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17th Annual American Indian Studies Association Conference
February 4-­‐5, 2016 — Tempe, AZ

“Native Leadership in Community Building ”

“Native Leadership in Community Building,” is the theme for the 17th Annual American Indian Studies Association conference. With the many challenges native communities and nations are facing, leadership is key to community building. While political officials are seen as leaders, individuals and families are also taking the initiative to transform their native communities and nations for the better. These individuals and families are undertaking work on a number of levels, such as language and culture maintenance/revitalization, health improvement, environmental protection, culturally-­‐based education, and many other pertinent issues, that build strength and capacity in our communities.

This year’s conference looks to examine and initiate discussions about leadership and community building. This includes, however is not exclusive to: language, culture, art, history, environment, governance, gender, sexuality, health, storytelling, education, family, philosophy, policy, and all other topics which would include leadership and community building.

The organizers of the AISA Conference welcome proposals for paper presentations, panel presentations, round table discussions, and workshops.

Consideration will be given to other topics that relate to American Indian issues. Paper/Session/Panel Proposals:

  • Please send paper and panel submissions in a digital format.
  • When submitting a paper, session or panel, please provide the name of the presenter, title,

    session organizer and/or all persons involved, including their role/s. Also, provide their address,

    phone number and email information.

  • Submit the presentation title/s and a 200-­‐word paper abstract, describing the paper, session or


  • Please submit proposals by October 15, 2015. Abstracts after this date will only be considered if

    space is available on the program.

    Thank you!

    Please send submissions to:

    Elizabeth P. Martos, Coordinator American Indian Studies
    P.O. Box 874603
    Arizona State University

    Tempe, AZ 85287-­‐4603 480-­‐727-­‐8691

    PDF Announcement: 2016 CP 17th Annual American Indian Studies Association Conference

Japan Moves to Protect Endangered Languages

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Japan Moves to Protect Endangered Languages

Published 27 August 2015

Japan is seeking to safeguard some of its most endangered languages such as Ainu.
The Japanese government Thursday created a special committee to protect the country’s endangered languages.

EFE reports that the committee is part of the government’s cultural agency and will focus on creating a digital archive of endangered languages. The archive will include details of the languages’ speakers, and strategies to promote their continued use.

RELATED: Indigenous Languages Gaining Space in Ecuador

The initiative is based on the outcome of a 2009 UNESCO study, which found that eight of the world’s roughly 2,500 endangered languages are from the Japanese archipelago. The most well known language featured on the list is that spoken by the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. The language is generally considered extremely close to complete extinction.

The other endangered languages are from outlying islands in the archipelago, which speak Miyako, Amami, Hachijo, Yaeyama, Yonguni, Kuginami and the Okinawan languages.

Many of these languages slipped into decline in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, when the Japanese state consolidated control over Hokkaido in the north and outlying islands, like the Ryukyus in the south. It adopted standardized education and policies of forced cultural assimilation, such as blanket bans on speaking Ainu.
This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:”.

Assistant Professor of Indigenous Languages/Minority Languages – Carleton University, School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Due: Nov. 6, 2015

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School of Linguistics and Language Studies (Indigenous Languages/Minority Languages) – Assistant Professor – (Applications Closing Date: November 6, 2015)

Carleton University’s School of Linguistics and Language Studies invites applications for a tenure-­‐track position in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies at the rank of Assistant Professor, commencing July 1, 2016. We are looking for an individual with a research specialization in Indigenous language issues and/or minority language issues more generally, especially in the Canadian context. Applicants should have an expertise in the maintenance, revitalization, and use of Indigenous/minority languages, as well as expertise that can complement and/or enhance current strengths in the School, for example: assessment; critical literacies; curriculum design; digital literacies; identity; learning/teaching; policy/planning. By July 1, 2016, applicants will have in hand a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, Discourse Studies, or related field, a well-­‐defined research agenda and an active research profile with a strong commitment to the dissemination of scholarship through!

The successful candidate will be expected to teach to a culturally diverse student body in both undergraduate and graduate programs, to provide graduate supervision at the MA and PhD levels, to develop a program of research leading to significant peer-­‐reviewed publications, and to contribute effectively to academic life in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies.

The School’s programs in Applied Linguistics and  Discourse  Studies  are  housed  in  a  large  unit representing a rich diversity of perspectives on language, with courses in these areas as well as in Linguistics, American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and less commonly taught languages such as Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), Ki-Swahili and Korean, as well as Communication Courses for Disciplines and Professions and courses in English as a Second Language for international students, immigrants and refugees.  Detailed information on the School can be found at

Applications should be submitted electronically to Professor Randall Gess at Hard copies will not be accepted. Applications should include three separate PDF documents, including: 1) letter of application; 2) a curriculum vitae; as well as 3) a concise  dossier  that  includes  written evidence of teaching effectiveness (minimally, teaching evaluations). Three letters of reference should be sent directly to the Director, also electronically. The closing date for receipt of applications, including the letters of reference, is November 6, 2015.

Please indicate in your application if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

Located in Ottawa, Ontario, Carleton University is a dynamic and innovative research and teaching institution committed to developing solutions to real world problems by pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding.  Its internationally recognized faculty, staff, and researchers provide academic opportunities in more than 65 programs of study to more than 27,000 full-­‐ and part-­‐time students, from every province and more than 100 countries around the world. Carleton’s creative, interdisciplinary, and international approach to research has led to many significant discoveries and creative work in science and technology, business, governance, public policy, and the arts.

Minutes from downtown, Carleton University is located on a beautiful campus, bordered by the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal. With over 12 national museums and the spectacular Gatineau Park close by, there are many excellent recreational opportunities for individuals and families to enjoy. The City of Ottawa, with a population of almost one million, is Canada’s capital city and reflects the country’s bilingual and multicultural character. Carleton’s location in the nation’s capital provides many opportunities for research with groups and institutions that reflect the diversity of the country.

Carleton University is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our University including, but not limited to: women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expressions.

Those applicants that are selected for an interview will be requested to contact the Chair of the Search Committee as soon as possible to discuss any accommodation requirements. Arrangements will be made to accommodate requests in a timely manner.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.  All positions are subject to budgetary approval.

Dr. Jennifer Adese
Assistant Professor, School of Canadian Studies
Carleton University, Dunton Tower 1219, 1125 Colonel By Dr.
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6
Tel:  (613)-520-2600 ext 4031  Fax: (613)-520-3903

Linking Language, Culture, and the Environment: Twenty years of Biocultural Diversity Research and Action, 11:30 am – 1 pm, Sep. 24, 2015

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Thursday, September 24: Linking Language, Culture, and the Environment: Twenty years of Biocultural Diversity Research and Action

Indigenous societies tend to make no distinction between “nature” and “culture”, seeing people as an intrinsic part of a greater whole that is the natural world. In Western ways of thinking, instead, “nature” and “culture” have often been conceptualized as distinct realms, and people have been seen as separate from (and even dominant over) nature. So pervasive has this dichotomy been, that our vocabularies contain no words to refer to “nature and culture” together.
The concept of biocultural diversity emerged two decades ago as a way of bridging this gap. A new word had to be coined to encapsulate the idea that diversity in nature (biodiversity) and diversity in culture (cultural and linguistic diversity) are all manifestations of the diversity of life, and that they are interconnected and interdependent. This lecture by Dr. Luisa Maffi reviews the history and conceptual foundations of biocultural diversity and its applications in a variety of “real-world” situations.

Hosted by the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program & Department of Anthropology.

Thursday, September 24
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Anthropology and Sociology Building (near MOA)
Room 1109, 6303 NW Marine Drive’
Everyone is welcome.

For more information, contact Mark Turin,, 604-827-0613.

Source: The Talking Stick: News and Information from the First Nations Longhouse, September 15, 2015

People of the Land: Dialogue series with the Mapuche Territorial Alliance, Sep. 22 & 23, 2015

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Tuesday, September 22 & 23: People of the Land: Dialogue series with the Mapuche Territorial Alliance

People of the Land: Dialogue series with the Mapuche Territorial Alliance will bring together two Indigenous leaders from the Mapuche Nation – Alberto Curamil and Miguel Melin – with Indigenous activists and scholars from North America to exchange ideas and share experiences about land recuperation, opposition to extractive industries on their traditional territories, customary law, and Indigenous childhood, language, and education.

The Mapuche Territorial Alliance (ATM) is one of the grassroots organizations based on the ancestral territory of the Mapuche Nation in the South of Chile – the Gulu Mapu, or west side of the Andes. The ATM’s core mission is the full defense of Mapuche inherent rights, especially with regard to the protection of the territory and the natural environment.

Everyone welcome, but RSVP to Magdalena,, for lunch on September 23.
Tuesday, September 22

2-4pm Panel on land recuperation: Yes, the discussion has always been about land
With Kanahus Manuel (Secwepemc Nation) and Chief Ian Campbell (Squamish Nation)

Liu Institute for Global Issues – Multipurpose Room
6476 North West Marine Drive

5-7pm Planting Poverty: Film screening and discussion about the impacts of the forestry industry on Indigenous lands
With Andrea Lyall (Kwakwa_ka_’wakw Nation), Aboriginal Coordinator, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Simon K. Y. Lee Global Lounge – Media Centre
Building 1  2205 Lower Mall

Light refreshments provided.
Wednesday, September 23

10am-12pm Panel on Indigenous customary law: Strengthening Indigenous legal orders from within
With Sheryl Lightfoot (Anishinaabe Nation, UBC) and Angeline Nyce (Nisg_a’a nation)
1-3pm Panel on Indigenous childhood: Language and cultural revitalization through Indigenous knowledge
With Jo-ann Archibald (Sto:lo and St’at’imc Nations), Faculty of Education, UBC
Venue for both panels: Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, First Nations Longhouse

Lunch provided from 12-1 PM. RSVP required for lunch; send to Magdalena:

Source: The Talking Stick: News and Information from the First Nations Longhouse, September 15, 2015

Course – LLED 565D: Indigenous Language and Cultural Education: Local and Global Perspective. UBC, Winter 1, Sept – Dec 2015

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Term: Winter 1, Sept – Dec 2015

Course Number: LLED 565D

Course Section: 061

Day: Tuesdays

Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Location: UBC, Scarfe 308A  

Course Description: This course will create an opportunity for students to engage in the educational perspectives of Indigenous peoples and communities on an international scale. We will review various practices, theories, methodologies and epistemologies that have emerged from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Course Delivery: This hybrid course will be delivered face-to-face and through video conferencing on a weekly basis.

Participating Global Sites & Instructors:

  • University of British Columbia, Candace K. Galla (Hawaiian)
  • University of Hawaiʻi Hilo, Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa (Hawaiian)
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks, Beth Leonard (Deg Hit’an Athabaskan)
  • University of Arizona, Sheilah Nicholas (Hopi)
  • Diné College, Cynthia Benally (Navajo)
  • Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi-Whakatane, Rosina Taniwha (Māori)