ANA Messenger - Language and Culture Edition - Winter 2016


Header for ANA Messenger


Commissioner's InsightLillian Sparks

Greetings Relatives,

Though it was slow to arrive, winter has finally settled over Washington, DC.  I hope that the holiday season found everyone blessed with good company and good will.  The ANA staff celebrated together during their many preparations for another successful year.  We tinkered like busy elves to have the 2016 Funding Opportunity Announcements completed.  Now, with our standing grants open for applications we’re on the hunt for a few good panel reviewers.  I must note that January 4, 2016 marked the completion of our 40th year of service to Indian Country.  We are so honored to be able to continue supporting the work that all of you are doing on behalf of your Tribes and communities.

In line with the language theme of our winter edition, all of these recent events have had us talking.  We are discussing ways to share the joy of our 40th anniversary with you, while ensuring the next 40 will be even better.  Thus, the next quartet of newsletters will serve as commemorative anniversary editions.  We will offer insights into each decade that ANA has seen through several forms of media.  We hope you enjoy this peak into our past even as we continue to tell you about the projects that are part of our present and future.

In this edition of the ANA Messenger you will read the profiles of four new and returning staff members, Tom Dannan, Diana Gates, Kristen Pratt, and Frank Rojas.  We are excited to have Tom return to our team, for Frank’s temporary position with us, and eager to gain the expertise of Kristen and Diana.  You will also read about a few of the past and current projects funded by ANA that focus on Native language preservation and revitalization.

 The Cheyenne and Arapaho are working to bring Native language instruction to the public schools that serve their communities.  The Pueblo of Pojoaque have successfully begun teaching Tewa in an early childhood setting and are now expanding their program to other schools.  These current grantees share their insight into language project success and the importance of community involvement.

We also check in with past grantees whose language nests have flourished.  Learn how the Salish School of Spokane turned a handful of language teachers into a community of language speakers.  Read about how three determined Ojibwe women started a project that is saving a language that had only one first language speaker left in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

In place of a book review, a member of staff will share their take on the documentary “Rising Voices.”  Members of ANA and the larger ACF community sat down together to watch this film which focuses on efforts to revitalize the Lakota language.

In honor of this first edition of the anniversary series, readers will be able to view the ANA through the eyes of those who were around for the beginning.  Mr. Thomas Vigil and Mr. Dan Van Otten discuss the obstacles that faced ANA in its beginning and the steps it took to persevere.  Lastly, a timeline of ANA’s history can be found in this issue along with a link to footage of grantees celebrating 40 years of partnership with ANA. Happy New Year!

Wopila,

Lillian A. Sparks

 

Features
 

Grantee Highlights
 


Cheyenne and Arapaho

Pueblo of Pojoaque

Getting to Know Us
 


Tom Dannan, Project Manager

Diana Gates, Impact Evaluator

Kristen Pratt. Program Specialist

Frank Rojas, Presidential Management Fellow

Past Grantee Highlights


Salish School of Spokane

Turtle Island Language Program

What We are Viewing
 


Rising Voices:Revitalizing the Lakota Language

The Dispatch
 

Bulletin Board

ANA History
 

ANA History with Tom and Dan

ANA Timeline 

ANA 40th Anniversary Video Visit disclaimer page

 

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

 

Grantee Highlight

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Cheyenne and Arapaho Living Language Project

 

 

How did your project come about?
The need to have our languages in our public schools within our tribal service areas.

Who was instrumental in the development of the project?
The Language Director, Executive Director, and Resource Developer, along with language staff members.

How did you address bringing together (synthesizing) ideas?
It started by collecting data from our communities and a lot of brainstorming. Since we have a lot of support and a great relationship with the schools in our service area, it was decided that this project was the most positive route to go.

Who are the key project staff members?
Rebecca Risenhoover, Language Director; Billie Sutton, Curriculum Specialist; James Sleeper, Arapaho Researcher; Carrie Lehi, Teaching Specialist; Everett Moore, Technical Specialist; Joyce Twins, Lead Cheyenne Teacher; Carol Whiteskunk, Lead Cheyenne Teacher II; Sharon Hale, Administrative Assistant; Michelle Johnston, Project Manager; and Victor Orange, Cheyenne Language Specialist.

Where is your project located? What Tribes/service are do you serve?
It is located in Concho, Oklahoma. We service the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.

What are your main project objectives/ goals of your project?
To provide our youth the opportunity to learn their languages in our schools while receiving credit towards graduation. It gave us the opportunity to create a curriculum and teacher guides to assist our future language teachers. We were able to provide teacher-training courses to train interested individuals to teach either Cheyenne or Arapaho languages and classroom trainings. We also provided language classes in our communities to give our tribal members the opportunity to learn their languages.

How has your project benefited the community overall (impact)?
It is giving our youth the opportunity to learn their languages in our public schools. We were able to provide language classes in some of our communities so that the parents and grandparents are able to converse with their kids.

What are your future plans to continue your efforts?
We plan to continue having our language classes for all ages and to provide additional teacher-training sessions for other interested individuals.

What advice would you offer to someone planning or implementing a project similar to yours?
Make sure you have the support you need to plan a project like this; it makes it easier for all those involved. Also try to stay on track as much as possible. It can be a difficult task but it is very rewarding once it’s complete.

 

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner
 

ANA Banner

Grantee Highlight

Back to Newsletter Homepage

The Pueblo of Pojoaque Early Childhood Center Tewa Language Immersion Project


Drums and other instruments sit on a 3 tier shelf

How did your project come about – how was it determined?
 

This project was the result of several years of discussion amongst tribal officials and tribal members about revitalizing traditional cultural practices, including the Tewa language, followed by months of discussion in the Tribal Council.

 

Once it was determined that the revitalization of the Tewa language in the Pojoaque Pueblo was a priority for the tribe, a one-year planning grant was developed and submitted to ANA.  Following the receipt of a one-year planning grant, and during that planning year, a Tewa Language Advisory Committee was formed, and a plan was developed for the implementation of the project at the Pueblo’s early childhood center, where it was believed that the tribal youth would be most receptive to learning a (second) new language.

 

Who was instrumental in the development of the project? 

There were several “key” persons/entities who were instrumental in the development of the project.  Firstly, there were the Tribal Officials, who made the discussions about the project a priority at the Tribal Council meetings.  The Tribal Council was also key in passing tribal resolutions authorizing the submission of various grants to teach the language in the pueblo.  There were also the Tribal Elders, who not only participated in those discussions, but who were able to share the stories and the importance of re-learning the language.  There were the Tewa speakers (from Pojoaque and nearby Tewa-speaking pueblos), who had to be identified and recruited to help with the teaching of the language.  There was also the Indigenous Language Institute, whose mission is to assist in revitalizing indigenous languages.  There was the University of New Mexico Center for Language Studies, who helped develop curriculum and assessment tools.  There was also the staff at the Early Childhood Center, who had to become “certified” to work with youth, as well as receive instruction from other language programs in order to teach the students.  And finally, there was the Administration of Native Americans (ANA), who had to believe in and help with funding the initial stages of this (ongoing) project.

 

How did you address the “synthesis” of ideas?

This was accomplished in a few different ways, along with simple “trial and error.”  However, to aid in the process there were the ANA trainings and grantee meetings, where Best Practices in language development were shared and discussed, and specialized “break-out” sessions were held.  There were also Tewa language conferences held by the Pueblo, where many of the neighboring Tewa-speaking pueblos came to share ideas and discuss ideas about teaching the language. This remains an ongoing practice.  There was also the formation of a Tewa Language Committee here at the Pueblo, where ideas were shared and discussed.  Finally, there were numerous meetings held between a Tewa Language Coordinator, the Education Director, Early Childhood Director, and the Pueblo’s Chief Grant Writer.

 

Who are the Key Project Staff members?

Key project staff includes the Early Childhood Director, the Tewa Language Coordinator, the entire Tewa Teaching Staff (7 Tewa-speaking teachers), the Tewa Language Advisory Committee, and the Pueblo’s grant writer.

Pieces of Pueblo artwork on display

 

Where is the project located – what Tribes/area do you serve?

The Tewa Language Project is located at the Early Childhood Center, 100 Lightning Loop Rd, Santa Fe, NM, 87506, which is located on Pojoaque Tribal lands, near to the Senior Center, Wellness Center.  Although this project primarily serves the tribal youth at the Pueblo of Pojoaque, the Pueblo has now employed a Tewa-speaking Native from the Tesuque Pueblo to teach the language outside of the Pueblo to Pojoaque and other Tewa-speaking youth at six (6) different schools where graduates of the Early Childhood Center attend middle school and now, high school.

 

What are the main project objectives/goals of the project? 

The main project goals and objectives are to teach the language through not only scholastic methods, but through “experiential learning,” or experiences.  Some of these experiential practices include traditional farming, cooking, celebrations, Feast days, traditional games, and regalia making.  The next phase of this ongoing language project will focus on developing tools for in-home use, where “language nests” will be created to provide not only youth but families with learning tools that the entire family will participate in.  Eventually, adult learning classes will be formed, and a teacher certification program will be developed, so that the students eventually become the teachers.

 

How has your project benefited the community overall?

The project has brought a new “cultural enthusiasm” to the Pueblo, whereby lost cultural practices which were once commonplace in the Pueblo are being re-introduced and revived in the Pueblo.  This has resulted in a renewed cultural pride, which is evident at traditional ceremonies, Feast Days, and throughout the Pueblo.

 

What are the future plans to continue your efforts?

The Pueblo of Pojoaque is committed to revitalizing the Tewa language in the Pueblo.  To that end, the Pueblo continues to develop plans and teaching tools to be used in the classroom, at home, and throughout the Pueblo community.  At the governance level, policies are being discussed amongst the tribal Council that would make certain uses of the language mandatory at various times and locales.

 

What advice would you offer someone planning or implementing a project similar to yours?

The key to having a successful program begins from the planning stages.  A well thought out objective plan and set program goals will direct the program to huge success and achievement.  The Pueblo of Pojoaque is committed to revitalizing the Tewa language back into their pueblo, and they have also shown tremendous support through all aspects which include at the various school levels where tribal youth attend, community member levels, and greatly through Tribal leadership.  The best advice would be commitment.  Once commitment is gained, there should be no reason for unsuccessful planning or implementing a project similar to ours.

 

    

      

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

Past Grantee Highlight

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Salish School of Spokane
Language Nest Development Project
 

 

Man sitting at round table with 7 childrenPROJECT OVERVIEW                                      

The Salish School of Spokane (SSOS) offers Salish language immersion to children ages one to nine. In 2011, the language nest at SSOS could only teach 3 hours of language per day due to a lack of fluent Salish teachers. In 2012, SSOS was awarded a 3 year Esther Martinez Immersion grant. With a detailed plan to achieve fluency, the school immediately focused on training language teachers in Colville-Okanagan, developing language learning curriculum, and expanding the number of hours and quality of immersion instruction to children and their parents. For the 2015-2016 school year, the school has an enrollment of 62 children being taught in Salish by 20 teachers, who are themselves enrolled in an intensive Salish language learning program.

 

PROJECT OUTCOMES AND IMPACT

 The Salish School of Spokane’s goal is to create a community of fluent Salish speakers. To achieve this they have created a fluency plan that is premised on the development of fluent teachers who can teach both young learners and their families. SSOS has a teacher training system that allows them to create a fluent, adult speaker in 12 to 18 months. The first objective of this grant was for three Early Learning Language Specialists (ELLS) and two staff members to achieve fluency in Salish. Staff received at least 90 minutes of language immersion and 60 minutes of study time for language development per day. The rest of their day was spent teaching in an immersion classroom paired with a fluent speaker. At the end of the grant period, the school had seven teachers who completed the language curriculum, achieved advanced fluency, and were approved for certification as language instructors by the tribe. An additional 16 teachers are currently going through the fluency program.

SSOS believes that families save language, not children. What makes the program unique to the region is that it has a dedicated parent language training program. All parents are required to take at least 40 hours of language instruction per year, with incentives, such as reduced tuition, if they participate in at least 60 hours of training per year. The school offers classes on Wednesday and Thursday nights and two Saturdays per month for parents where they provide a meal and free childcare. In the final year of the grant, the school had a minimum of 30 adult language learners attending the community classes. The success of the adult training program has allowed the school to hire parents as staff. Forty percent of SSOS staff have children or grandchildren enrolled. Not only is this continuing the parents’ language acquisition, it is contributing to the development of a language community where there is intergenerational language use within the home.

 

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

Past Grantee Highlight

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Turtle Island Language Program
Ojibwemowin Wadiswan (Ojibwe Language Nest)

PROJECT OVERVIEW                                      

Turtle Island Cultural Services is located in Baraga, Michigan. It was started by three Ojibwe women concerned with the rapid loss of language in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). Prior to the project, only one person living in the KBIC was a first language speaker of Ojibwe. The situation in other Ojibwe communities was as dire. Turtle Island Cultural Services launched a three year Ester Martinez Initiative language project to create a language nest program for children ages two through six.

The program included family and community immersion components to increase language use throughout the community.  The language nest for children operated Monday through Friday and provided a diverse array of newly developed curriculum and activities.  Staff encouraged the children to speak it in their home and provided families with materials to continue the lessons together.

The second objective was to help increase the capacity of the entire family to speak the language. This was accomplished through having weekly Ojibwemowin Immersion Family Circles for the families of the children. Immediate family members went to the center to partake in classes designed specifically to increase their own Ojibwe speaking skills. Finally, monthly Immersion Socials were held for the children, parents, and extended families and community to increase community interest and involvement in learning Ojibwe.

 

PROJECT OUTCOMES AND IMPACT

 During the course of the project, over 740 hours of immersion class were offered each year. Additionally, staff developed 48 curriculum lessons a year as the students progressed throughout the courses. Staff also hosted 12 family immersion sessions each quarter and developed companion adult curriculum for the events. The family immersion sessions provided opportunities for the children and the parents to interact in Ojibwe together and learn together. The community, in general, increased its knowledge of Ojibwe through involvement with the twelve immersion socials held each year.  The variety of material and outreach to the community created an environment of learning and sharing that was invaluable to the children involved.

The center became a place where the students could reconnect with their culture and learn about themselves. The benefits of this work extended beyond learning the language. The students developed a connection to staff and could turn to them to talk about school and personal issues. Parents, understanding the value of Turtle Island Cultural Center due to their involvement with the programs, were actively involved with the progress of their students. The overall sense of pride in seeing Objibwe spoken by the young children was a highlight for many of the participants.  The project staff plans to use this grant as a foundation to develop a permanent nest and extend instruction into the local schools.

 

 

 

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

Getting To Know Us

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Tom DannanPicture fo Tom Dannan standing with hands on hips in front of ANA signage
On-Site Project Manager, (Tribal Tech, LLC) supporting the Administration for Native Americans (ANA)


Can you tell us about your background and what lead you to work for ANA?
Definitely! After I graduated college, I joined the Peace Corps and served two years as a health educator in Morocco, living and working with an Indigenous community there. That was an eye-opening experience, getting to learn the community’s culture, native language, and way of life. I always say that I gained a lot more from my time there than I gave. Once I finished my term in the Peace Corps, I spent a couple years as a project manager and director with a non-profit in South Sudan, living and working with Native Dinka and Nuer. Since the people had just suffered decades of civil war and material poverty, it was incredibly challenging, and I learned a tremendous amount. After living overseas for the better part of four years, I decided I wanted to move back to the U.S.. and work domestically. I earned a Master’s in Public Administration, and I was offered a position with Tribal Tech, serving ANA. It was a perfect match of my professional skillset with my passion for working with indigenous communities who are regaining self-sufficiency.

As a returning staff member, what do you enjoy most about your new role thus far?
I enjoy getting to help put all the pieces in place and making connections across the organization. I’ve had the opportunity to visit about two-dozen ANA-funded projects, so I can draw on that in everything I do, whether it’s helping organize the grantee meeting, panel review, or even some kind of information technology project. The staff and leadership here are incredibly passionate about the mission and vision, and because of that, are always looking at how we can do things better. It’s fun to be a part of that.

What are some of your interests or hobbies? What do you most like to do in your free time?
I love being outdoors, and my wife and I have spent a lot of time hiking, canoeing, and fishing around the area. Nowadays, as a new dad, I just love spending time with my family, whether it’s at home or on a weekend trip.

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

Getting to Know Us

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Picture of Diana Gates standing in front of ANA logo
Diana Gates
Impact Evaluator, (Tribal Tech, LLC) supporting the Administration for Native Americans (ANA)


Can you tell us about your background and what lead you to work for ANA?
I recently graduated from Columbia University with an MSW concentrated in Social Enterprise Administration. My previous work includes program evaluation with the Earth Institute in New York City, external consultancy with educational nonprofits in India and Pakistan, and I was a Teach for America corps member in Mississippi. What led me to work for ANA was that I wanted to use my skills and knowledge of program management and evaluation to support self-determination and community development among Native nations. As a member of the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Nation of Virginia, this hits particularly close to home!

I know you just started with ANA, but what do you enjoy most about your job thus far?
I have been here for only a few days, but I really enjoy the warm and hardworking environment. Everyone I’ve met has been so wonderful, and I am so excited to become a member of the team.

What are some of your interests or hobbies? What do you most like to do in your free time?
I love doing beadwork and sewing. I am a Southern Cloth Traditional powwow dancer, and I love dancing at powwows with my fiancé and our extended family. I also sing with two drums – the Zotigh Singers and Tidewater Agency in my spare time. And last but certainly not least, my most favorite thing to do is spend time with my dogs; they’re my babies!

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

Getting To Know Us

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Kristen PrattPicture of Kristen standing in front of ANA signage
Program Specialist, (Tribal Tech, LLC) supporting the Administration for Native Americans (ANA)

 

Can you tell us about your background and what lead you to work for ANA?

I began my professional career working for my tribe, the Osage Nation, in Oklahoma. I worked in the Office of the Principal Chief, where I spent 5 ½ years working for two different administrations. Through my work there with senior staff and government officials, we administered the then 35 tribal departments and programs offering services and administration to tribal members and the tribal community. From that experience I decided I wanted to take my career to a highe r level and work with tribes and organizations nationally.

 

 

I know you just started with ANA, but what do you enjoy most about your job thus far?

Obviously the work being done here, and the mission of ANA, is wonderful. I am also eager to learn about the different organizational structures of tribal governments and organizations especially within the Pacific and Alaskan Regions. Lastly, the staff whom I have met thus far has been extremely welcoming and kind to me. I look forward to working with everyone, building working relationships, and learning from the diverse group of people here with all of their combined experience.

 

 

What are some of your interests or hobbies? What do you most like to do in your free time?

In my free-time I like to read. I also enjoy running and hiking in the spring and summer months. Most recently I’ve joined a kickboxing class to stay active indoors during the winter months. I also enjoy watching sports – football and basketball are my favorites, but I have become interested in, and am learning, more about soccer and hockey.

 

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

Getting to Know Us

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Frank RojasFrank Rojas standing on Congress floor wearing a blue suit.
Presidential Management Fellow working at the Administration for Native Americans

Can you tell us about your background and what lead you to work for ANA?

As a Presidential Management Fellow (Class of 2014), I have the wonderful opportunity to do internal-rotations within ACF for my first two years.  As a green-economist who is passionate about community, culture, and youth development, I chose ANA as one of my rotations because of the unique community and Native youth programs that ANA funds and supports.

The work at ANA has really given me the opportunity to merge my passion and skill in these areas, while giving me the opportunity to learn more about Native cultures and develop myself as a person.  I am a strong believer that small ideas can have a large impact, and I am determined contribute to ANA in any way I can to have a lasting positive impact on Native youth and culture.

 

I know you just started with ANA, but what do you enjoy most about your job thus far?

What I’ve enjoyed most in my short time with ANA is learning from others.  A large majority of ANA’s staff has direct ties to Native cultures and tribes.  I’ve learned a great deal through individual conversations about Native culture, heritage, and policy initiatives.  So there’s been a lot of personal growth through these interactions as well as attending ANA conferences.

 

What are some of your interests or hobbies? What do you most like to do in your free time?

In the summer months, the DC area is really green and beautiful, so it lends itself to having a great relaxing time in the various parks throughout the city.  I am also still fairly new to the DC area, and I’ve learned to tap into some of the local coffee shops that DC has to offer.  It’s a great way to learn about your neighborhood and community.

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

Bulletin Board

Back to Newsletter Homepage

The deadline for health coverage is near for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.  Visit the Health Care (ACA) Visit disclaimer page site to get covered.

American Indians and Alaskan Natives can use the Native One Stop Visit disclaimer page portal for information on all federal resources.

Interested in helping ANA select new grantees? Visit our website to learn about panel review.  It pays to be a grant reviewer.  /programs/ana/grants/ana-objective-panel-review

 

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

ANA Banner

ANA History with Thomas and Dan

Back to Newsletter Homepage

ANA History with Thomas and Dan
 


What Came First, SEDS or ANA?
The early evolution of the Administration for Native Americans

In honor of the Administration for Native Americans’ (ANA) 40th anniversary, the staff spoke with some of those who remember the early days of the administration.  Thomas Vigil was an employee of the Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) who served as the Deputy Commissioner when ONAP became ANA.  Mr. Vigil discussed how changing times and views on Native American sovereignty guided ANA, and said that the lack of both funding and strong government within tribes were some of the issues initial grantees often faced.

For example, into the 1960s, the Federal Government had complete authority over trust land.  Mr. Vigil explained it this way:  “If a tribe wanted to irrigate a ditch or make it deeper, they couldn’t without approval from the Federal Government.  They couldn’t harvest any trees or even cut posts…How could anything develop?”  President Nixon’s support of tribal self-determination in the 1970s had to contend with holdover attitudes from this earlier policy.

Mr. Vigil noted that the Federal Government’s support for self-determination was first met with anxiety.  Many American Indians were concerned that self-determination was a new policy that could do more harm than good, as did “Termination”.  ANA chose to interpret self-determination to refer to sovereignty, and a chance for tribes to govern themselves and see to their own interests.

At the same time, ANA was still a new government office trying to identify its role in the Federal Government’s relationship with tribes.  The first ANA grants were focused on funding tribal administrations and were largely unsuccessful.  The Federal Government also wished to deal more directly with tribal nations.  ANA was at risk of being dissolved.  ANA leadership needed to determine how it could best support the budding sovereignty of Native nations.

ANA staff went on a retreat and worked to find a solution to this problem.  According to Mr. Vigil, it was at this retreat that the idea for Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) grants was born.

The theory behind SEDS was simple.  Mr. Vigil explained that Native communities, “…can’t develop anything without considering your social, economic, or physical needs.”  The goal was to ask Native organizations what they needed most to support their community.  Mr. Vigil further said it was like asking tribes, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  This type of grant would improve the sovereignty of tribes in a way that differed from the work of other agencies, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  Looking back, Mr. Vigil said the implementation of SEDS grants not only saved ANA but was seen as a revolutionary concept.

Since the 1980s, Dan Van Otten has worked with tribes and urban Indian programs to develop projects that received ANA funding.  He has also served as a reviewer for the ANA SEDS Alaska competition, and he has worked as a Training and Technical Assistance provider since 1995.  Like Mr. Vigil, Mr. Van Otten views the creation of SEDS as ANA’s greatest accomplishment of its early days.

“The Reagan administration was poised to defund ANA,” Mr. Van Otten recalls.  “David Lester, the then Commissioner, came up with the Social and Economic Development program concept and saved ANA from the ax.  SEDS has been the foundation of ANA since then.”

Following the implementation of SEDS, Mr. Van Otten helped design and do site work for many grants.  One of those grants he holds most dear was the creation of a Solid Waste and Recycling Transfer Station for the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians.  Mr. Van Otten noted that this project leveraged over $1 million and continues to benefit the community.

In discussing the future, Mr. Van Otten stressed the importance of ANA focusing on funding, “projects that build assets in Native communities, leverage resources, and provide sustainable benefits.”  He suggested further collaboration between ANA and sister agencies to achieve this goal.  Mr. Van Otten also recommended continuing to improve the application review process.  Mr. Vigil’s aim to enhance the sovereignty of Native nations fits in well with these goals.

ANA shares the values and ideas discussed by both men, and will continue moving forward in our aim to promote self-sufficiency for American Indians and Alaskan Native communities.

 

We are soliciting more stories from past employees and grantees about their experiences with ANA.  If you wish to share the story of your project and partnership with ANA please contact us.

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner
 

ANA Banner

ANA History

Back to Newsletter Homepage

ANA Timeline

Timeline showing historical event within ANA

Legend with Definitions for ANA terms

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner
 

ANA Banner

What We Are Viewing

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Rising Voices: Revitalizing the Lakota Language
 

ANA and ACF staff recently attended a lunch hosted by ANA to watch the documentary, “Rising Voices.”  The following is a review by one of those viewers, Jordan Daniel.

In just 60 minutes, this film captures the story of the Lakota people and their efforts to save the Lakota language. Members of the Lakota community, and linguists from all over the world, have joined together to learn, teach, and share the language.  They are fighting to ensure that the language makes it into the future of the Lakota people.  The language’s survival is not only up to teachers and elders but to future generations of the Lakota nation to carry it on.

Pre-Columbus, the Lakota language was one of approximately 300 Native languages spoken, with only half of those remaining today.  According to experts, roughly 20 of those languages will survive by 2050.  The film highlights the passionate fight to revive the language.  Each person in this film gives their own in-depth perspective on how the Lakota language plays a role in staying connected to their culture and forming their sense of self.  They stress the importance of teaching the language to their own children. In a short amount of time, the film captures the day-to-day struggle to preserve Native language in a place many compare to a third world country.  People from around the world have a deep interest in the Lakota way of life and have come to learn the Lakota language.      
The struggle of Lakota children to achieve fluency was made clear after years of efforts in the classroom.  A new way of teaching began through partnerships with non-Indians from around the world that used new teaching methods.  The results were positive, leading to the creation of fluent second-language Lakota speakers.  Teaching the language remains a priority.  However, programs such as immersion schools are few and spread all over the Lakota nation.  This fact makes it difficult to sustain attendance numbers, and many programs are in danger of losing their funding. Ensuring that these programs continue and grow is important, because the Lakota language can help restore the community for the people.

The notion of not having an identity, to an extent, correlates with not knowing your language or culture.  For the Lakota, being able to speak the language allows you to feel a connection, speak the way of your ancestors, and have a sense of belonging.  That is not to say that if you can’t speak you’re not Indian, or a Lakota.  But, it is important to try to learn the language, pass the torch, and to ensure that the future of the Lakota Nation, or any tribal nation, lives on.  So much of the history of Native peoples is passed on orally.  We come from storytellers. The importance of Native language revitalization and preservation programs is recognized not only by tribal nations but by the U.S. Government.  The film highlights the U.S. Government’s evolving position regarding Native languages, from a time when it suppressed them, to current efforts to help support revitalization.

This documentary highlights the Lakota people’s determination to save the language while, at the same time, the language is saving them.

 

Back to Newsletter Homepage

Bottom Banner

 

Last Reviewed Date: