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Using Computers to Learn and Preserve Indigenous Languages
Nashua, N.H., February 4, 2009 - Mary Hermes, a Dakotah woman and University of Minnesota professor with years of experience in education, and her husband Kevin Roach, an Ojibwe artist with expertise in both tribal art and computer graphics, wanted give their children the gift of being raised in their tribal language during their young years.
Over time, however, Mary
and Kevin came to feel that immersion schools were not reaching enough people.
In 2000, Mary and Kevin founded the nonprofit organization Grassroots Indigenous Multimedia (GIM) with the mission of developing curriculum materials especially designed to teach Ojibwe and other First Nation languages.
Mary and Kevin later hooked up with Nora Livesay, a master's student in the University of Minnesota-Duluth's World Language Revitalization Program.
In the process of applying for grants to support GIM's work, Mary
heard about Transparent Language
from Ed McDermott in the International Research Services office at the U.S. Department of Education
Mary quickly contacted Michael Quinlan, CEO of Transparent Language, who offered his enthusiastic support, and a simple idea started growing into something big.
says about Byki and Learn Language Now!
: "These tools were the missing pieces of our efforts.
Mary Hermes, PhD
Assistant Professor of Education
University of Minnesota Duluth
Wisconsin Charter School Association - News
Boozhoo Anishinaabedog, nindinawemaganidog! (Hello everyone, my relatives.), said Mary Hermes in her introductory comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in support of Native American Languages Act legislation.Dr. Hermes is a founding board member of the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion Charter School that's sponsored by the Hayward School Board.In her testimony earlier this summer, she stressed the need for language immersion schools in the upper Great Lakes area and the need for alternative teacher training and certification programs for immersion teachers. Dr. Hermes, an assistant professor of education at the University of Minnesota - Duluth, had researched why common culture-based curriculum hadn't produced more academic success.
What I found, she
told the committee, was that the cultural-curriculum tends to be added on (to the academic curriculum) and taught in English.The result, too often, is competing academic streams: one cultural and one academic.Students can read this as a choice: academic success means assimilating and culture-based success means being Indian
.Students can choose: being smart or being Indian
.Teaching rigorous academic content through our indigenous languages poses no such dilemma.Ample evidence shows the many academic benefits of learning a second language, said Dr.Hermes.Learning an indigenous language also has the affective benefits of positive self-esteem and identity, intergenerational connectedness and appreciation of different world views.In my opinion, she
observed, language immersion should be the next evolution of culture-based curriculum.It would be a real break-through for all of American Indian education. Waadookodaading
means the place where we help each other.Miigwech biizindawiyeg, mii sa I'iw (That is all, thank you for listening.), Dr. Hermes
told the Senate committee.See Dr. Hermes' testimony at: http://indian.senate.gov/2003hrgs/051503hrg/hermes.PDF.
Biocultural Diversity, Language, and Environmental Endangerment â€“ Panel discussion with Winona LaDuke, Luisa Maffi, and K. David Harrison | Terralingua
The panel was chaired by Mary Hermes, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota..
Part of the University Symposium on Abundance & Scarcity.
(Minnesota) -- University of ...
(Minnesota) -- University of Minnesota Duluth education professor Mary Hermes says saving an endangered language goes beyond just enriching the people who speak it.
The Pine Knot - Cloquet, Minnesota
Mary Hermes, Assistant Professor of Education at UMD has the task of working with teachers to make sure the CD ROM and teaching materials meet their needs and are user friendly so they will be used.She and Johnson will both make sure that the curriculum conforms with Minnesota Graduation Standards and American Indian School Learner Outcomes.
They will also eventually have the task of planning and organizing staff development for the entire team to present the teaching materials at school staff development programs.
emphasizes that in some cases this is a recovering of history.
"A lot of history was told in the Ojibwe language in stories.As the language was lost, many of the stories were lost and we need to recover them," she
explains."There are artifacts and settlements that have been found in the region dating as early as 200 AD."
On completion the group feels this will be the only resource that compiles all of this information together at one time.The project is scheduled to be completed by February, 2003.