ILPP Indigenous Languages Preservation and Promotion

Menominee applique pattern of floral design

 

The ILPP is dedicated to supporting local tribes in the preservation and promotion of their native languages by helping them to take advantage of the resources of the University of Wisconsin. We are a project of the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (CSUMC), based at UW-Madison.

Languages all over the world are under threat. Experts estimate that of the approximately 6,000-7,000 languages that exist today, anywhere from 50-90% could be lost during the present century. All of the American Indian languages spoken in the state of Wisconsin today are endangered, with numbers of speakers per language ranging from two or three to a few hundred. None of these languages are consistently being learned by children, which is a warning sign of eventual language loss. However, all of the tribes are working to reverse this trend (including the Ojibwe immersion school Waadookodaading), and the ILPP is dedicated to supporting their efforts in every way possible.

The ILPP's goal is to make connections between tribal language programs and resources at UW-Madison and other UW campuses. Examples of such connections might include finding students who could create language teaching videos as a class project, others who would be willing to do work on native language grammars and dictionaries in return for research opportunities, etc. We also have facilities for the transfer of tapes to CD, and with appropriate funding will be able to help tribes preserve their language tapes (cassette and reel-to-reel). We will also eventually be able to help with enhancement of audio materials, such as filtering out noise from old recordings.

The ILPP sponsored a conference that looked at topics such as language preservation activities, linguistic analysis, funding opportunities, and state and federal legislation in 2002 at the College of Menominee Nation, and we hope to sponsor others in the future.

For further information, please contact:

Monica Macaulay mmacaula@wisc.edu 

J. Randolph Valentine jrvalent@wisc.edu




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