This is an archived article.

August 19, 2004

American Indian language teachers will begin three-day computer ‘camp’

Media advisory

WHAT: Ancient Voices, Modern Tools conference

WHO: Nearly 90 teachers of 30 different American Indian and Canadian First Nations languages

WHEN: Friday through Monday, Aug. 20-23. Opening ceremonies, ceremonial dancers and demonstration, 2-5 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Kane Hall Room 220, University of Washington Seattle campus

DETAILS: Modern technology offers a variety of tools to help teach native languages and the conference will provide an intensive three-day computer camp to help teachers produce culturally appropriate language materials. The conference is being co-hosted by the Indigenous

Language Institute of Santa Fe, N.M., and the University of Washington. “Our intent is to provide people with technological skills that they can take home to help preserve their language and culture,” said Sue-Ellen Jacobs, a UW professor emerita of women’s studies and anthropology and one of the conference organizers. Of the more than 300 original languages in the United States and Canada, only 175 exist today and 155 of those are considered endangered and could be lost by 2060. The conference is funded by a grant from the Christensen Fund and sponsors include the UW’s Canadian Studies Center, Office of Minority Affairs, communications department, American Indian Studies Center, Native Voices for Indigenous Media and First Nations at the UW.

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For more information at the opening ceremonies, contact Tom Colonnese, director of the UW’s American Indian Studies Center, or Tessie Naranjo of the Indigenous Language Institute. Note: Working sessions Saturday through Monday will be closed to the news media.