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Old 04-12-2006, 05:57 AM   #1
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indigenous language conference



The School of Education is hosting the 13th Annual Stabilizing Indigenous
Languages Symposium on May 18-21, 2006, bringing to the Buffalo State campus
nearly 300 students, teachers, researchers and elders involved in aboriginal
language reclamation, revitalization, stabilization, and maintenance. The
Seneca Nation of Indians has joined as co-sponsor the conference, providing
funding for keynotes, cultural events, conference materials, shuttle
transportation
The goals of the symposiums are straightforward:
* To bring together American Indian and other indigenous language
educators and activists to share ideas and experiences on how to teach
effectively American Indian and other indigenous languages in and out of the classroom.

* To provide a forum for exchange of scholarly research on teaching
American Indian and other indigenous languages.
* To disseminate through the Internet and monographs recent research
and thinking on best practices to promote, preserve, and protect American
Indian and other indigenous languages.
With these goals in mind, the SILS conferences focus on the linguistic,
educational, social, and political issues related to the survival of the
endangered Indigenous languages globally, in an effort to create an agenda for
reversing language shift while striving to achieve the goals of the 1990 Native
American Languages Act. This legislation makes it government policy to promote,
protect, and preserve the Indigenous languages of the United States.
The symposiums have featured a wide variety of presentations, ranging from
implementing immersion teaching programs to using Total Physical Response
teaching techniques, to developing indigenous language teaching materials.
The pervasive "English-Only" political movement in the United States
questions the value of teaching languages other than English, including indigenous
languages. Throughout the symposiums there has been a theme of how language
and culture are intimately entwined and cannot be separated.
As chair of the conference, I feel both honored and humbled that our
planning committee has selected for this year’s SILS theme, “And Together Our Minds
Are One,” or Sga:d hëdwa:yë:' ö gwa'ni göë' dëdwanö:nyö', since this phrase
has such deep meaning for me as a Seneca woman. For the Haudenosaunee, or
people of the longhouse, much of our worldview is encapsulated in what we call
the Ganonyok, or traditional thanksgiving address, customarily spoken each day
as we thank the Creator for all of earth’s blessings, and as a respectful
opening and closing of important events and ceremonies.
I, unfortunately, am not a native Seneca speaker but a beginner learner
passionately involved in the maintenance of our indigenous language. Indigenous
people are reminded constantly of the importance of strengthening family
especially when our communities face contemporary challenges, for we too have
become contemporary peoples. Thankfully, tribal elders continue in urging us to
persevere, to stand strong, and to never give up hope. They have passed on
to us their indigenous knowledge—our cultural sovereignty, my intellectual
understanding—all of which has now become my responsibility. The School of
Education has joined us in assuming a vested interest in the continuation and
survival of our indigenous cultures and languages for the next seven
generations.
I invite my colleagues and friends in the community & at Buffalo State to
join us this May. Please check the website for updates.
-Lori Quigley et al.
Associate Professor
Elementary Education & Reading
email: [email protected]_ (mailto:[email protected])
website: _http://www.buffalostate.elementaryeducation/sils.xml_
(http://www.buffalostate.elementaryeducation/sils.xml)



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