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Reclaiming Muscogee Creek: Building a Foundation for a Future in Language Revitalization

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Throughout the course of the Honors Thesis/Creative Project, the intent was to gain knowledge regarding national, state and community initiatives regarding Indigenous Language Revitalization and Maintenance (ILRA). For over a year, I had the opportunity to visit a total of

Throughout the course of the Honors Thesis/Creative Project, the intent was to gain knowledge regarding national, state and community initiatives regarding Indigenous Language Revitalization and Maintenance (ILRA). For over a year, I had the opportunity to visit a total of five indigenous communities, including Pine Ridge, SD, Gila River Indian Community, AZ, White Mountain Apache, AZ, Cochiti Pueblo, NM and Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM. The goal was to learn about the status of their language, current ILRA initiatives as well as challenges and successes that face American Indian nations. During each visit, key elements to successful language revitalization initiatives were identified that could benefit those continuing their effort to reverse language loss as well as those looking to enter in the field of language revitalization.

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2014-12

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Intergenerational language ideologies, practices, and management: an ethnographic study in a Nahuatl community

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Although there are millions of Nahuatl speakers, the language is highly threatened. The dominant language of Coatepec de los Costales, a small village in Guerrero, Mexico, was historically Nahuatl, a Uto-Aztecan language, referred to by some as “Mexicano” (Messing, 2009).

Although there are millions of Nahuatl speakers, the language is highly threatened. The dominant language of Coatepec de los Costales, a small village in Guerrero, Mexico, was historically Nahuatl, a Uto-Aztecan language, referred to by some as “Mexicano” (Messing, 2009). In the last 50 years, there has been a pronounced shift from Mexicano to Spanish in the village, and fewer than 10% of the residents currently speak Mexicano. Without intervention, the language will be lost in the village. The ultimate cause of language shift is a disconnect in transferring the Indigenous language from the older to the younger generations. In Coatepec, older Nahuatl speakers are not teaching their children the language. This recurring theme appears in case studies of language shift around the world. Using a conceptual framework that combines (1) a critical sociocultural approach to language policy; (2) Spolsky’s (2004) definition of language policy as language practices, ideologies or beliefs, and management; (3) the ethnography of language policy, and (3) Indigenous knowledges, I collected and analyzed data from a six-month ethnographic study of language loss and reclamation in Coatepec. Specifically, I looked closely at the mechanisms by which language ideologies, management, and practices were enacted among members of different generations, using a combination of observation, archival analysis, and in-depth ethnographic interviews. Seidman’s (2013) three-part interview sequence, which includes a focused life history, details of experience, and reflections on meaning, provided the framework for the interviews. What are the language ideologies and practices within and across generations in this setting? What language management strategies – tacit and official – do community members of different generations employ? This in-depth examination of language ideologies, practices, and management strategies is designed to illuminate not only how and why language shift is occurring, but the possibilities for reversing language shift as well.

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2016

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A phenomenological, qualitative study of place for place-based education: toward a place-responsive pedagogy

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This dissertation examines people's place experiences more fully than has been done by others in the field of education, and in doing so, it opens new ways of thinking about place in place-based education. Place-based education, in its effort to

This dissertation examines people's place experiences more fully than has been done by others in the field of education, and in doing so, it opens new ways of thinking about place in place-based education. Place-based education, in its effort to connect educational processes with the local places in which students and teachers carry out their daily lives, has become an increasingly popular reform movement that challenges assumptions about the purpose and meaning of education in a rapidly globalizing world. Though the scholarship on place-based education describes, justifies, and advocates for turning the educational focus toward local places, it does not necessarily bring forth an explicit understanding of how people experience place.

Grounded in phenomenology, this qualitative study explores the place experiences of five individuals who were born and raised in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. Experiential descriptions were gathered through three, in-depth, iterative interviews with each participant. Documents considered for this study included interview transcriptions as well as photographs, observations, and descriptions of places in the White Mountains that were deemed significant to the individuals. A phenomenological framework, specifically Edward Relph's explications of place and insideness and outsideness, structured the methodological processes, contextualized participant narratives, and facilitated and informed an understanding of participants' place experiences.

Through the coding and analyzing of interviews for common themes and subthemes, as well as through the crafting of individual profiles, participant place experiences emerged as a dialectical relationship between insideness and outsideness and consisted of Part-of-Place (play-and-exploration, cultivation-of-place, stories-of-place, dangerous-endeavors, and care-of-place), Place-Sensations (remarkable-moments, sensory-triggers, and features-marked-in-time), and Ruptures-in-the-Place-World (pivotal-moments, barriers-borders-boundaries, drastic-changes, and injuries).

While the research was exploratory and only investigated a limited number of place experiences, the findings, coupled with theoretical and conceptual understandings of place anchored in phenomenological perspectives, strengthen a discussion in place-based education of place, how place is experienced, and how these experiences matter in people's lives. Furthermore, the findings of this dissertation support a proposed pedagogical method that blends place-based education and culturally relevant practices into a place-responsive pedagogy.

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Date Created
2015

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Contention through education: from Indian education to Hopi education

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This paper primarily focuses on the Hopi Tribe of northeastern Arizona and how historical events shaped the current perception and applications of educational systems on the Hopi reservation. This thesis emphasizes the importance of understanding historical contexts of a community

This paper primarily focuses on the Hopi Tribe of northeastern Arizona and how historical events shaped the current perception and applications of educational systems on the Hopi reservation. This thesis emphasizes the importance of understanding historical contexts of a community in order to understand the current predicament and to devise solutions to contemporary issues in which I primarily focus on education. Education is broken down in regards to the Hopi communities by history, how this history has affected those communities, ideas of sovereignty and power within education and then future probable solutions to integrating language and culture into Hopi schools.

This research is primarily literature and educational reports on the Hopi Tribe and other American Indian communities. The research was then compiled to find commonalities with other Indian communities to depict barriers to educational success as well as effects of western education such as traditional culture and language decline. Solutions and results that other Indian communities had devised were also researched to determine if they could be incorporated into the Hopi educational system and if they supported the language and culture that the Hopi people are trying to retain.

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Date Created
2014

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Subversive implications of American Indian literacy in New England's praying towns from 1620-1774

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This thesis examines literacy development among the Algonquian-speaking Indian peoples of New England from approximately the years 1600-1775. Indians had forms of literacy prior to the coming of European settlers, who introduced them to English literacy for the purpose of

This thesis examines literacy development among the Algonquian-speaking Indian peoples of New England from approximately the years 1600-1775. Indians had forms of literacy prior to the coming of European settlers, who introduced them to English literacy for the purpose of proselytization. I describe the process of English-language literacy taking hold during colonization and argue that Indians in the colonial period subverted the colonizing intent of English-language literacy to preserve their mother tongues, their claims to land and affirm their nationhood as a people.

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2016