McCarty (2013). Language Regenesis in Practice.

McCarty, T. L. (2013). Language Regenesis in Practice. In Language Planning and Policy in Native America: History, Theory, Praxis (pp. 91–155). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

“‘This history is important … because everything we do today as a nation, including our language and culture efforts, is in direct response to this oppressive history’ (Baldwin & Olds, 2007:281).” (p 94)

“According to Baldwin, ‘A garden can have a lot of weeds in it and it takes tilling it … to encourage what we want to grow’:

“‘… It’s more a matter of getting on with the work in a thoughtful way. We must be conscious gardeners if we are going to have a community harvest.’ (Personal communication, 11 May 2009)” (p 94-95)

“‘We learned early on that even though self-motivated learning in the home may not require much in the way of financial resources, community based language learning does require a tremendous amount resources and tribal leadership has been critical towards supporting this need.’ (Personal communication , 19 August 2009)” (p 97)

“Jointly controlled and funded by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University, the Myaamia Project has been housed at MU since 2001. As stipulated in the memorandum of agreement between the tribe and the university, the project’s dual mission is research and education: research to assist Miami language and culture preservation — a research agenda that, Wesley Leonard stresses, is directed by a sovereign Indigenous nation’ (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, 2008) …” (p 99)

“‘This isn’t a matter of settling on one way to do [language revitalization]’, Baldwin maintains; ‘it is to take advantage of all the different ways to capture [language and culture] and I think, for our case, documentation speaks pretty highly to what the possibilities are’ (personal communication, 19 August 2009).” (p 100)

[Note: Square brackets in passage above were in the original.]

“Wesley Leonard puts it this way: ‘Teaching the language is not our goal, it’s using the language as the articulation of our culture. … (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, 2008)” (p 100)

“The revitalization of [the language], the return of that, is also an intergenerational process. (Personal communication, 11 May 2009)” (p 104)

[Note: Square brackets in passage above were in the original.]

“‘You have to raise the prestige of the language before a larger segment of the community begins to realize that this effort is real and growing and they should be part of it. …’ (Personal communication, 22 February 2012)” (p 104)

“The idea is that we are creating a generation of young people who … think differently about their language and begin to value themselves as Myaamia people and begin to dream about the possibilities.’ (Personal communication, 19 August 2009)” (p 104)

“From this perspective, fluency in Miami is the outcome of a longer, more complex process of ideological transformation and community building. … (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, 2008).” (p 105)

[“Language Can Come Home Again’: Wôpanâak Language Reclamation” (p 106) …]

“Wôpanâak was the first American Indian language to have an alphabetic writing system, the outcome of the efforts of Puritan missionary John Eliot to translate the King James Bible.” (p 107)

[Determining community interest (p 108)]

[Much “groundwork and training” to get the project started. (p 109)]

[“We Wanted Language Learning to be Family Based’: The California Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program” (p 111) …]

“Unlike the situation for Miami and Wôpanâak discussed above or for Navajo, discussed in Chapter 4, California languages encompass at least six major language ‘root stocks’ and some 18 different language families (Goddard, 1996a). Thus, each language must be dealt with individually (see Figure 5.13). Also unlike Miami, Wôpanâak and Navajo, there is not a large corpus of written materials (Hinton, 1998: 86, 2001c: 218). Under these conditions language revitalizers have looked to elder speakers as primary language and culture resources, and to intertribal networks and community-university partnerships as the means for organizing language and culture regenesis.” (p 112)

“… Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program (MALLP). The heart of the MALLP is the positioning of elders as language teachers in a close, long-term relationship with language learners. … Often the pairs are family members. The most important criteria for the selection of teams are fluency for the master and demonstrated interest in learning and teaching the Native language by the apprentice (Hinton, 2001c: 218).” (p 114)

“The MALLP has been adopted (and adapted) by endangered-language communities around the world, with applications in multiple US states [page break] (including a recent NALA grant to implement a master-apprentice program in the Wampanoag Nation described earlier in this chapter), and in Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia (Hinton, 2011: 303). … In at least one case — Yurok — which no longer has speakers who possess the fluency of elders 10 or 20 years ago, but which has individuals who used the language as children, a new revitalization process has been invented called ‘language pods’.” (p 117-118)

[“We Decided to Raise Mohawk Children’: Kanienkeha Regenesis” (p 119) …]

“The Indigenous self-referential term is Kanienkehaka, People of the Flint, …” (p 120)

“Kanienkeha or Kanienke:ha (the term for the language) was committed to writing first by the Dutch (e.g. number and month names in 1624), and soon thereafter by Moravian, French and American Congregationalist missionaries (Goddard, 1996b: 21-30). Kanienkeha was also used as a diplomatic language.” (p 120)

[“Kahnawà:ke Survival School” (p 121) …]

“Mohawk student teachers taught by linguist Marianne Mithun created a standard orthography for use in the schools, and further teacher-directed corpus and acquisition planning followed (Jacobs, 1998: 118).” (p 121)

“‘They then began to construct a curriculum [that would enable children to acquire the language] naturally if Mohawk were [page break] their first language … Their goal is to teach children a way of thinking, not simply a translating skill.’ (Mithun & Chafe, 1987: 27- 28)” (p 121-122)

[Note: First set of square brackets in passage above were in the original.]

[“Akwesasne Freedom School” (p 122) …]

“Despite the pressures of assimilation, residents of Akwesasne, White maintains, ‘have preserved their distinct ethnic identity as members of a once powerful Confederacy’ (White, 2009: 67).” (p 123)

“The Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address or _Ohonten Kariwahtekwa_, which teaches gratitude to the earth and all it provides, and the _Kaianere:kowa_ (the Great Law of Peace) anchor the school curriculum. Holistic and experiential learning, including participation in Mohawk songs, dances and other religious and cultural ceremonies, are key pedagogic practices (White, 2009).” (p 124)

“Like Kahnawà:ke and other school-based language regeneration efforts, a major challenge at Akwesasne has been corpus planning – specifically, the development of Native-language materials for all subject areas.” (p 125)

[“Adult-child language learning at Tyendinaga” (p 126) …]

“… these twin adult-child initiatives illustrate the creative ways in which individual change agents, through organic, grass roots revitalization movements, can reclaim, in Maracle et al.’s (2011: 93) words, ‘their Original’ mother tongues.” (p 128)

[“‘The Hawaiian Language Shall Take Its Rightful Place among the Languages of the World’: Hawaiian-medium Education” (p 128) …]

“A missionary-introduced orthography had been in use since the early 19th century, and 90% of the Hawaiian population was reported to be literate in Hawaiian — the highest print literacy rate recorded in the world at the time (Grenoble & Whaley, 2006: 95). As discussed in Chapter 1, newspapers were published in Hawaiian, and even the children of immigrants ‘spoke Hawaiian with native-speaker fluency (Wilson, 1998 : 127).” (p 129)

“In 1893, backed by a group of sugar planters and other powerful American businessmen, the US military mounted an illegal takeover of the sovereign Kingdom of Hawai‘i. Although protested by a significant number of US citizens and initially blocked by Democratic President Grover Cleveland, annexationists in the US Senate succeeded in establishing ‘what [they] set out to establish’, namely that ‘no illegalities had been committed by US representatives or armed forces in Hawai‘i’ (Langer, 2008 :20). Five years later, Hawai‘i was ‘annexed’ as a US territory ‘not by treaty but by … Congressional resolution’ (Langer, 2008: 15).” (p 129)

“By 1920, most Hawaiian children had begun speaking a local variety of English called Hawaiian Creole English, developed from the pidgin that arose from the importation of foreign workers (Warner, 2001: 133-135). … At the same time, the Hawaiian Creole English that had replaced Hawaiian was ‘used as a marker for socioeconomic discrimination against its speakers — Hawaiians and immigrants’ (Warner, 2001: 135).” (p 130)

“Strengthened by contacts with Māori language activists in Aotearoa/New Zealand, in 1893 a small group of parents and language activists established the _‘Aha Pūnana Leo_ (Hawaiian language nest) non-profit organization and then its preschools (a parallel to the Māori _Kõhanga Reo_ [language nest] preschools).” (p 130)

“At present, Hawaiian remains the only Native American immersion program that extends through grade 12 (W.H. Wilson, personal communication, 19 July 2009).” (p 132)

“As is evident from this brief history of the Hawaiian ‘renaissance’, all of this has required a great deal of political activism on the part of parents and other supporters, at both the state and national levels. … This work has required extensive acquisition and corpus planning — most notably preparing certified Native-language teachers and developing teaching materials in all content areas that meet state curriculum standards.” (p 132)

“In their fight to establish a preschool through high school system of Hawaiian-medium education, Hawaiian language planners have focused on the civil rights issue of protecting children from forced loss of Hawaiian language (linguicide) and _mauli_ (ethnicide) in the context of public schooling (Wilson & Kamanā, 2001: 149-150, 153-163).” (p 135)

“Hawaiian revitalization has extended into other, non-school domains, such as Hawaiian- speaking softball teams and the production of Hawaiian language-only plays ‘written by Hawaiians about Hawaiians’ (Warner, 2001: 141-142; [page break] see also Warner, 1999b).” (p 136-138)

“It has nonetheless been one of the most lasting and effective Indigenous language regenesis movements in the world (Hinton, 2001a: 8). … it continues to capture the public imagination and to serve as an exemplar of the counter-hegemonic possibilities of conjoined family-, community-, school- and university-based LPP.” (p 138)

[“‘Harmonizing without Homogenizing’: Navajo Immersion and Academic Success” (p 139) …]

[Puente de Hózhǫ́ school (“PdH”) … ]

“PdH educators explicitly reject the remedial labels historically associated with bilingual and Indigenous education in the United States. According to these educators, the way to ameliorate long-standing academic disparities is to create a school culture in which ‘diverse languages and cultures [are] regarded as assets rather than deficits, as things to be desired and augmented rather than eliminated or suppressed’ (Fillerup, 2011: 149).” (p 147)

[Note: Square brackets in passage above were in the original.]

“Like immersion at TDB and Nāwahī, this is a school community that, in its everyday practice, aims to conquer what Luis Enrique Lopez (2008) calls the ‘subaltern condition’ of bilingualism, indigeneity and difference.” (p 149)

[“Reimagining Possibilities for Indigenous Mother Tongues” (p 150) …]

“The language regeneration cases examined here have, as Dementi-Leonard and Gilmore observe, carved out space ‘for the freedom to resist and challenge oppressive obstacles’, to refute hegemonic attitudes, and to ‘envision the unseen’ (Dementi-Leonard & Gilmore , 1999: 53).” (p 154)

Selected References

  • Baldwin, D., & Olds, J. (2007). Miami Indian language and cultural research at Miami University. In D. M. Cobb and L. Fowler (Eds.) Beyond Red Power: American Indian politics and Activism since 1900 (pp. 280-90). Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.
  • Dementi‐Leonard, B., and Gilmore, P. (1999). Language Revitalization and Identity in Social Context: A Community‐Based Athabascan Language Preservation Project in Western Interior Alaska. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 30(1), 37-55.
  • Fillerup, M. (2011). Building a ‘Bridge of Beauty’: A preliminary report on promising practices in Native language and culture teaching at Puente de Hózhǫ́ trilingual magnet school. In M.E. Romero-Little, S.J. Ortiz, T.L. McCarty and R. Chen (Eds.) Indigenous Languages Across the Generations — Strengthening Families and Communities (145-164). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University Center for Indian Education.
  • Goddard, I. (1996a). Introduction. In I. Goddard (volume Ed.) and W.C. Sturtevant (general Ed.) Handbook of North American Indians Vol. 17: Languages (1-16). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Goddard, I. (1996b). The description of the Native languages of North America before Boas. In I. Goddard (volume Ed.) and W.C. Sturtevant (general Ed.) Handbook of North American Indians Vol. 17: Languages (17-42). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Grenoble, L. A., & Whaley, L. J. (2006). Saving Languages: An Introduction to Language Revitalization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hinton, L. (1998). Language loss and revitalization in California: Overview. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 132(1), 83-93.
  • Hinton, L. (2001a). Language revitalization: An overview. In L. Hinton & K. Hale (Eds.) The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice (3-18). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Hinton, L. (2001c). The Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program. In L. Hinton & K. Hale (Eds.) The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice (217-226). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Hinton, L. (2011). Revitalization of endangered languages. In P.K. Austin & J. Sallabank (Eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages (291-311). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jacobs, K. A. (1998). A chronology of Mohawk language instruction at Kahnawá:ke. In L.A. Grenoble and L.J. Whaley (Eds.) Endangered Languages: Language Loss and Community Response (117-125). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Langer, E. (2008). Famous are the flowers: Hawaiian resistance then — and now. The Nation, 15 (28 April), 17-29.
  • Maracle, I., Hill, K., Maracle, T., and Brown, K. (2011) Rebuilding our language foundation through the next generation. In M.E. Romero-Little, S.J. Ortiz, T.L. McCarty and R. Chen (Eds.) Indigenous Languages Across the Generations — Strengthening Families and Communities (83-94). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University Center for Indian Education.
  • Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (2008). myaamiaki eemamwiciki. Miami Awakening (DVD). Miami, OK: Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.
  • Mithun, M. and Chafe, W. L. (1987). Recapturing the Mohawk language. In T. Shopen (Ed.) Languages and Their Status. (1-34). New York: Winthrop.
  • Warner, S.N. (1999b). Hawaiian language regenesis: Planning for intergenerational use of Hawaiian beyond the school. In T. Huebner, K.A. Davis, & J.L. Bianco (Eds.) Sociopolitical Perspectives on Language Policy and Planning in the USA (313-330). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
  • Warner, S.L.N. (2001). The movement to revitalize Hawaiian language and culture. In L. Hinton & K. Hale (Eds.) The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice (133-144). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • White, L. (2009). Free to be Kanien’kehaka: A Case Study of Educational Self-determination at the Akwesasne Freedom School. Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona.
  • Wilson, W.H., and Kamanā, K. (2001) ‘Mai loko mai o ka ‘i’ini: Proceeding from a dream”: The ‘Aha Punana Leo connection in Hawaiian language revitalization. In L. Hinton & K. Hale (Eds.) The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice (147-176). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Wilson, W. H. (1998). I ka ‘ölelo Hawai‘i ke ola, ‘Life is found in the Hawaiian language’. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 132(1), 123-137.


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