Language Documentation

Linguistic Repatriation

Language documentation materials, be they print, audio, or video, can easily be returned in digital form, but repatriation does not always equate to immediate utility. In Alaska Native language have suffered from a century of language policy focused on deliberate language removal. Simply returning language documentation does not result in return of language. This presentation describes one attempt to repatriate language materials for the Dena’ina Athabascan language. The project grew out a revitalization efforts centered at University of Alaska and was started with a broad base of community support. However, the resulting website failed to gather much community support.

Instead, a number of grassroots efforts eventually built different types of language products, often drawing on the content of the Dena’ina website. This example shows the importance of grounding linguistic repatriation projects in grassroots efforts. Language archives can facilitate new types of circulation through community engagement, but the efforts will be most successful when driven by the communities themselves. Since the Dena’ina project several other community-initiated language projects have emerged across Alaska. Each begins with a community-centered concept and then draws on the archive as a content provider.

Peggy Mainor and Della Warrior, Introducing the Mica Group's Guide for Successful Language Revitalization at the 2016 Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Conference

In this video, Peggy Mainor, Executive Director of the Mica Group, describes the Mica Group's guide to successful language revitalization programs, which they are currently drafting. She solicits input on the project. Della Warrior, Founding Member of the Mica Group, describes the work of the Mica Group, which provides funding and consultation for projects related to the preservation of language and cultural heritage.

2015 ATALM NANH Meeting: Presentations from Jilkaat Kwan Heritage Center, the Kanza Museum, Sealaska Heritage Institute, and the Micmac Museum

This panel consists of speakers discussing their Native American/Native Hawai'ian (NANH) Musueum Services Program funded projects. The first speaker, Lonnie Hotch, from the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center, discusses a project to install the Whale House Collection and complimentary projects to build a cultural center and visitor center and plans for upcoming exhibits. Crystal Douglas, Kanza Museum Director, discusses a collaboration between her institution and the language program that resulted in the creation of a language learning app and a virtual tour that contains oral histoires of the last full-blood members of the Kaw Nation. Chuck Smythe, from the Sealaska Heritage Institute, discusses a project to create an exhibit based on four core values key to the aboriginal peoples of Southeast Alaska. Finally, Jennifer Pictou, Tribal Historic Preservaton Officer at the Micmac Museum, discusses how the museum worked with the NANH to decrease the scope of an over-ambitious grant application to prioritize the creation of policies to ensure the proper care and management of the museum's collections. This meeting took place as part of the pre-conference activities for the 2015 ATALM annual conference in Washington, DC on September 9, 2015.

2015 ATALM Language Summit: Native Youth Revitalizing Language

In this panel, Native American youths Teddy McCuullough, Vanessa Goodthunder, and Vance Home Gun, share their experiences as leaders of language preservation and revitalization projects taking place at their home communities. This panel was part of the Language Summit during the pre-conference activities for the 2015 ATALM annual conference in Washington, DC on September 9, 2015.

Language Work and Language Collections

In this presentation, Siri Tuttle, Interim Director at the Alaska Native Language Archive (ANLA), discusses her work at ANLA, the importance of working with language archival materials, and the barriers you can encounter when working with language documentation. She ends her presentation by giving an example of the language archival cycle. This presentation was given at the SHN sponsored ANLA Workshop, held in University of Alaska Fairbanks, on March 9-10, 2016.

Dena’ina Language Revitalization Efforts

In this presentation, Aaron Leggett, formerly Dena’ina Cultural Historian at the Alaska Native Language Center and currently the Curator of Culture and History at the Anchorage Museum, discusses the projects he has undertaken to revitalize the Dena’ina language, such as the Dena’ina Quenaga Digital Archive, the KNBA Dena’ina Lifeways oral history project, and the Dena’ina Way of Living exhibition at the Anchorage Museum. This presentation was given at the SHN sponsored ANLA Workshop, held in University of Alaska Fairbanks, on March 9-10, 2016.

From Arrival to Dissemination: The Curation of an Oral History Collection

In this handout, Leslie McCartney, Curator and Robyn Russell, Collection Manager, both at the Oral History Program at Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, provide some best practices for curating an oral history collection from its arrival to dissemination. At the end of the handout you will also find a series of appendices with useful links, templates, guidelines, policies examples, and workflows. This handout was used in their presentation on oral history, given at the SHN ANLA Workshop on Digital Preservation, held in the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, on March 9-10, 2016.

Oral History Inventory and Accessioning Log Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet was created by Leslie McCartney, Curator and Robyn Russell, Collection Manager, both at the Oral History Program at Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska, to be used as a template for inventorying and accessioning oral history projects. This is an appendix from the handout the presenters provided at their session “From Arrival to Dissemination: The Curation of an Oral History Collection,” given at the SHN ANLA Workshop on Digital Preservation, held in the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, on March 9-10, 2016.

Preserving and Enhancing Native Language Resources in Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums

In this video, Gary Holton, Director of the Alaska Native Language Archive, provides a hands-on workshop on best practices for managing and documenting Indigenous language materials and discusses the importance of language archiving for preserving linguistic diversity and revitalizing Native languages and cultural identity. This was a half-day SHN sponsored pre-ATALM workshop, held in Washington, DC on September 10, 2015.

Suggested Guidelines for Recorded Interviews

In this video, Guha Shankar, Folklife Specialist at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, discusses guidelines and best practices for conducting interviews in community settings. Some of the topics covered include getting prepared for your interview, gathering metadata while performing fieldwork, how to create good interview questions, and the importance of observing cultural protocols. This video was recorded during the 2015 Post-ATALM SHN Workshop held at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, on September 13-15, 2015.