Department of Linguistics & TESOL | The University of Texas at Arlington
Native Languages of the Southwest at UT Arlington
Press Clippings & Other News
Various projects connected to work done under the Native American Languages Lab with Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald, her students, fellow collaborators and partner language communities have garnered publicity in the media. Specific links appear below.
Jean Luc Pierite, a representative of the Tunica-Biloxi tribe in Marksville, La, said he connected with the film because within it shows Greymorning conflicting with his tribe on teaching his native Arapaho language, and he said this is a common issue in some areas...“Language is a vehicle for political empowerment, whether it’s in the tribe, or in the outside communities,” Pierite said. Pierite and his family have been actively working to revitalize their language for about 40 years, he said. “As indigenous people, we are supposed to have greater priorities,” Pierite said of Native Americans being more active in communities.
“CoLang is helping in keeping a culture that is truly American preserved,” said Stephanie Vielle (Blackfoot), political science major and NASA president. “The languages that have once been forbidden to speak are now being brought out of the shadows and into the light. Why shouldn’t the rest of the world learn the complexities of these languages? There was once a time, foreigners looked at my ancestors as ignorant individuals when they spoke their language...CoLang is supporting and educating the resurrection of a once forbidden language. I think the work done is very meaningful and important.
At CoLang’s first public event, Williams spoke about the activities indigenous language communities in British Colombia conduct to fight for their languages. She also spoke about the legacy and education of colonization, reconnecting generations and communities with their native languages and how to enable collaborations between education and native languages. “We have to help each other. It’s a mantra I’ve been using,” Williams said. “We cannot do the work of keeping our languages alive, we can’t do it by ourselves on either side of the fence and it’s only by really facing each other, walking side by side that we are able to do this work.”
Native American Times news outlet picked up a press release by UT Arlington's Bridget Lewis on CoLang 2014.
“For most of my career, I’ve worked to preserve endangered languages and to promote the ethical and responsible training of students and community members in language work,” Fitzgerald said. “To be able to facilitate the collaboration of researchers, language activists, students and others who study indigenous populations and the preservation of Native American languages is an absolute privilege.”An article on CoLang 2014: Institute on Collaborative Language Research helped to highlight Native American languages, one of the themes of the 2014 institute, as well as support from many units on campus, including UT Arlington's Native American Student Association.“CoLang is helping in keeping a culture that is truly American preserved,” said Stephanie Vielle (Blackfoot), political science major and NASA president. “The languages that have once been forbidden to speak are now being brought out of the shadows and into the light. Why shouldn’t the rest of the world learn the complexities of these languages? There was once a time, foreigners looked at my ancestors as ignorant individuals when they spoke their language...CoLang is supporting and educating the resurrection of a once forbidden language. I think the work done is very meaningful and important.Coverage in the UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts e-newsletter highlighted a recent trip by Dr. Fitzgerald and linguistics undergraduate and graduate students to Tahlequah, OK, the capital of Cherokee Nation.The trip allowed students to work with Cherokee language and traditional knowledge experts in town for the annual Cherokee Language Consortium. Students participated in hands on language revitalization activities, assisting Native American community members with learning dictionary software, and collecting language data and ethnobotany and other information as part of a UTA Sustainability Committee faculty grant for “Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Sustainability and Indigenous Language Documentation.Indian Country Today Media Network ran a story on the Indigenous languages forums, including an Indigenous Languages Documentation & Revitalization Seminar presented by Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald and Dr. Brad Montgomery-Anderson, for the 2013 Symposium on the American Indian. xxxNOVEMBER 2012
An article in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education talks about the 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop.
Claiming one’s ancestral tongue has its merits, Dr. Fitzgerald said, “There are studies that show there is significant, [positive] educational impact for underrepresented groups when their educational experience includes a component of their heritage language,” she said. “One of our goals — in a social justice context — is to … allow Native American children to express their traditions, their heritage in the same setting where there are other students.”
Doctoral student Lori McLain Pierce, who is working with Choctaw and involved with revitalization work, was recently awarded the Jess Hay Chancellor's Award by the UT System, was featured in the Graduate School's newsletter and in the College of Liberal Arts e-newsletter.
UT Arlington Magazine featured Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald in the feature on 'Focus on the Faculty' feature.
Fitzgerald collaborates with language teachers and program directors as well as with tribal elders and assures them that her projects are long term and not for profit. “For many Native American communities, language is from the creator,” she says. “It is sacred.”The 2011 President's Report brought attention to Fitzgerald and her use of service-learning in 'Imparting Knowledge Through Innovative Instruction'.
Institute for Collaborative Language Research
The Institute on Collaborative Language Research (InField/CoLang) was hosted by the University of Kansas in 2012 and will be hosted in 2014 by UT Arlington, under Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald as Director. Some of the 2012 press coverage for the Kansas institute came from efforts by the CoLang Activism course where the participants collaboratively wrote a press release on the Institute. The Activism course was co-taught/facilitated by Colleen Fitzgerald and Phil Cash Cash, a Cayuse-Nez Perce speaker and doctoral student at the University of Arizona.
An article in Lawrence Journal-World talks about the current institute and the institute upcoming in the summer of 2014.
Press release on CoLang 2012, collaboratively written by the Activism class co-taught/facilitated by Dr. Fitzgerald and Phillip Cash Cash.
Oklahoma Breath of Life 2012
The funding secured by Colleen Fitzgerald and OU's Mary Linn has received a fair amount of attention in the media for Oklahoma's Breath of Life project. Here is the coverage that we have seen. (More about UT Arlington's participation in the project here.)
The Oklahoman ran an article on the 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life workshop which featured UT Arlington student Libby Tatz, who served as a mentor for the Cheyenne attendees.
National Native News carried a radio story by Susan Shannon (KGOU) about the 2012 OKBOL Breath of Life Workshop. It aired June 7. Andrea Muru, one of the UT Arlington students who mentored the Natchez attendees, was interviewed in this clip.
In episode a 20 July 2011 episode of Think, Krys Boyd interviewed Colleen Fitzgerald and Mary Linn (University of Oklahoma) about the Oklahoma Breath of Life Project, Native American languages, and language endangerment.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran an article by Diane Smith, "UTA helps Native Americans learn to save own languages," discussing the Breath of Life workshops for Oklahoma Native American languages that Colleen Fitzgerald is helping spearhead."We are growing field linguists," said Colleen Fitzgerald, associate professor and chairwoman of UT Arlington's Linguistics Department. "We are transferring knowledge to community members so they can teach their own languages."
The article was picked up by the AP and received nation-wide distribution.
Darla Slipke's "American Indian language program receives $90K grant" (10 June 2011) discusses the impact that the Oklahoma Breath of Life project is having among speakers of Native American languages.
Indian Country Today ran an article, "Native American Language Program Gets Funded for Another Year," about Breath of Life language revitalization efforts funded by the NSF Grant that Colleen Fitzgerald is co-PI on.Fitzgerald said UT Arlington is creating linguistic databases that will enable the creation of online dictionaries—like the one for the Natchez—that will help revitalize the many endangered Native languages.
The UT Arlington Press Center put out a news release on 25 May 2011 entitled "UT Arlington linguist wins NSF grant to breathe new life into endangered Native American languages."The grant will fund research associated with the Oklahoma Breath of Life workshop planned for next May in Norman, Okla. The program will reunite linguists with Native Americans who attended a similar workshop there last year.
“That project was very successful. Three communities participated: Osage, Otoe, and Natchez,” Fitzgerald said. The 2012 workshop will reinforce the original linguistic mentor-mentee partnerships with those three communities and provide for seven more groups whose languages have no fluent speakers.
Houston radio station program, "People of Earth," did an interview with Colleen Fitzgerald on the Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop and the current state of Native American languages. The program focuses on Native American issues; the link leads to the archived podcast, with the interview starting about 20 minutes in.
R&D ran a piece (from an NSF press release) on NSF grants that are helping to digitally document endangered languages. The Oklahoma Breath of Life project was included among those listed because of the digital documentation component being spearheaded by Colleen Fitzgerald.