Matching Items (5)
- Creators: Arizona State University
- Creators: Appleton, Nicholas
- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
Relationships are the heart of Anishinaabeg culture and language. This research proposes understanding Anishinaabemowin, the language of Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi peoples, as a living, historical, and spiritual member of the cultural community. As a community member, the language is the Oldest Elder. This understanding provides a relational lens through which one can understand language history from an Indigenous perspective. Recent scholarship on Indigenous languages often focuses on the boarding school experiences or shapes the narrative in terms of language loss. A relational understanding explores the language in terms of connections. This dissertation argues that the strength of language programs is dependent on the strength of reciprocal relationships between the individuals and institutions involved. This research examines the history of Anishinaabemowin classes and programs at three higher educational institutions: Bemidji State University, University of Michigan, and Central Michigan University. At each institution, the advocates and allies of Oldest Elder fought and struggled to carve space for American Indian people and the language. Key relationships between advocates and allies in the American Indian and academic communities found ways to bring Oldest Elder into the classroom. When the relationships were healthy, Oldest Elder thrived, but when the relationships shifted or weakened, so did Oldest Elder's presence. This dissertation offers a construct for understanding Indigenous language efforts that can be utilized by others engaged in language revitalization. The narrative of Oldest Elder shifts the conversation from one of loss to one of possibilities and responsibilities.
The Ak-Chin Indian Community is a small community in southern Arizona comprised of roughly one thousand O’odham. The indigenous language of Ak-Chin is the ’O’odham ñeo’okĭ, O’odham language, however in recent decades the number of speakers of this language have begun to sharply decline. Due to a variety of sociological factors in interacting with the dominant colonial society, the people of Ak-Chin have begun a shift toward the predominant use of English in daily affairs. The goal of this thesis is to investigate the societal factors that have led to the decline of the O’odham language in Ak-Chin and to examine language policy and planning principles and practices which may serve as examples for the Ak-Chin community to re-establish a strong connection to their heritage language.
This study investigated the limitations of Navajo language teaching in Navajo Head Start immersion centers. The research questions asked what did Head Start teachers perceive as barriers to Navajo children successfully learning the Navajo language, what skills and knowledge did Head Start teachers have that were relevant to teach Head Start children the Navajo language, what Head Start teachers perceived as their strengths and weaknesses of the language immersion program, and what program and instructional qualities promoted and restricted the success of the language program? Two males and six females who resided in the western part of the Navajo Nation wee interviewed as to their teaching experiences. All of the interviewees were between the ages of late 40's to mid-60's and all spoke Navajo fluently. They had been employed with Head Start for more than 10 years. They came from families who had strong beliefs in the Navajo culture and language, and believed all teachers should take Navajo language and culture classes to teach in Head Start. The interviews revealed the participants use their traditional language and culture skills to teach Navajo, but they had limited knowledge as how to use the curriculum provided by Division of Dine Education. The English curriculum was accessible and easy to follow, but did not adhered to President Hale's Executive Order to perpetuate the language. It was recommended that Head Start administrators and support staff review the Navajo language policies and regulations, train teachers how to write a lesson plan that was simple and teacher friendly, revamp the curriculums, and train teachers how to critique, analyze and develop lessons from the Navajo Curriculum. In addition, administrators, should monitor and provide technical assistance to ensure teachers are implementing Navajo language instruction according to Navajo Standards and monitoring each child's progress according to developmental domains and assessment.
Intergenerational language ideologies, practices, and management: an ethnographic study in a Nahuatl community
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.
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.