| Category: ||E-InfoReq |
| Subject: ||Certification for teachers of indigenous languages. |
| From: ||Armelle Denis |
| Email: ||denisa_(on)_ucs.orst.edu |
| Date received: ||11 Dec 2000 |
My name is Armelle Denis, I am a grad student at Oregon State University
working with the Warm Springs Confederated Tribes of Oregon on language
The Warm Springs have three languages: Wasco (the last remaining Chinookan
language, described among others by Boas and Sapir), Sahaptin (a Penutian
language) and Northern Paiute (the northernmost language of the
Uto-Aztecan family). All three are greatly endangered, especially Wasco
and Paiute which count only 5 to 10 native speakers on the reservation,
all of them old or getting old.
The Warm Springs have made the decision to preserve all three languages by
teaching them in the local elementary school. So far they have operated on
tribal funds and done without proper certification. However, if they want
to pursue teaching their languages in non-reservation middle and high
schools, they are going to need to get some kind of state certification.
Our current approach relies on the status of Native American tribes as
sovereign nations. We want to argue in front of state officials that
community recognition of individuals' linguistic abilities and talents for
teaching constitutes sufficient certification, and that by virtue of their
sovereignty, the tribes do not need state control over the education of
I have not been able to find much on the topic of certification for
teachers of indigenous languages, but I'd be interested to know the
approaches other tribes confronted with that issue have adopted. Has
anybody else argued along the lines of sovereignty and how did that work?
What other solutions have been devised?
Hoping to hear from linguists around the world,