(12 Total References)
As NILI director Janne ...
As NILI director Janne Underriner '84, MA '96, PhD '02, explains it, a language dying from disuse doesn't mean the loss of a mere curiosity or a charming relic from bygone days.
Meanwhile, Underriner stayed on at the UO, earning her doctorate and helping, in 1997, to found NILI, which offers curriculum development, teacher training, and grant-writing support to teachers of native languages throughout the year and in a three-week intensive summer institute on campus.
Northwest Indian Language Institute Comes To Grand Ronde
"This is the first time that's been done in Oregon," said Janne Underriner, Program Director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI), the source of much success in bringing Native languages back to life here in the Northwest.
The program is meeting this summer at the Grand Ronde campus.From its start in 1997 until this year, the two-week program set to end July 2 in Grand Ronde's
Education Center had been held at the University of Oregon
.This year, the program accomplished one of its long-standing goals, said Underriner
, to offer the program on an Indian Reservation.
Seven teachers from Tribes
across the region, including Grand Ronde's Chinuk wawa language expert, Tony Johnson, are working with 16 students , mostly Tribal language teachers, said Underriner
helped develop this program at the request of Tribes
.At the time, she was a graduate student at the University of Oregon, studying linguistics.
"My work went from language analysis to working within the communities," she
called the Grand Ronde Chinuk wawa language immersion program "a huge success story.Have you been in and heard those kids speaking Chinuk wawa?," she
"I wish all the Tribes
could have a radio program," said Underriner
The Klamath Tribes
are working with an Elder to keep the language alive, and the Tribes have been able to put the language classes in the public school system.Underriner
cited other success stories. "You can get a degree in the Sahaptin language at Heritage College in Toppenish, Washington," she said.
"Lane Community College
has put together a Native studies program that focuses on language, and if you're interested in studying one language, their goal is to find teachers for that language," she
In addition, the state of Oregon has developed "a specialized teacher license" for teachers of Native languages.
The program has focused since inception on these summer sessions but Underriner
is seeking funds to support "on-site workshops in the fall and spring because teachers need to follow-up."
Relearning an ancestral language may have benefits beyond cultural connections, according to Janne Underinner, a Northwest Indian Language Institute specialist from the University of Oregon.Learning any second language can improve overall thinking skills, she said, and some schools are already supporting small-scale native language programs.
In fact, one Dayton High School tribal member filled her
second-language graduation requirement by learning Chinuk with her
But preschoolers may benefit most from bilingual instruction, Underinner
said.Studies show that bilingual speakers have higher analytical scores and do better in language arts when they enter school, she
, provides technical assistance to Johnson and the other Chinuk teachers.
Part of Underinner's
work this year was to revise training benchmarks to balance tribal traditions with state Teaching Standards and Practices Commission requirements for licensing.
Newsday.com - Preserving Their Indian Culture
"Well into the 1970s, the U.S. government was funding programs to get Indians out of their communities and into the cities and assimilate them," said Janne Underriner, a doctoral student in linguistics and coordinator of the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon.Underriner
does preservation work with six tribes in Oregon, one of which has only one speaker left, a tribal elder.
"When a language is gone, or when a language is taken away, it's really the most effective way of taking the culture away from the people," she
Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.
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"Now, when it is too late, ...
"Now, when it is too late, it's so hot," says Janne Underriner, director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon.