What does it take to save an endangered language? Is it enough to teach it in the schools? If not, what more is required?
These are some of the questions explored in Taking Back the Language, a new report written by Native Science Report Editor Paul Boyer, and available here. Focusing on over forty years of language revitalization work on the Fort Berthold Reservation of North Dakota, the 20-page report examines the progress made as well as the obstacles encountered by educators and community activists working to teach the tribe’s three languages.
Based on site visits and extended interviews, the report documents a wide range of accomplishments, including the integration of language classes in most of the reservation’s elementary and secondary schools. As a result of groundbreaking work started in the 1970s, many reservation children now study the Hidatsa or Arikara languages from first to eight grade, and for at least one additional year in high school. Both languages, as well as Mandan, the tribe’s third language, are also taught at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, the local tribal college.
However, the report also documents concerns that the tribe is not doing enough to revitalize its languages. Only a small number of adults speak their ancestral language and school-based programs are not yet producing a new generation of fluent speakers. Searching for a solution, Taking Back the Language explores how educators are introducing new instructional materials and reaching out to the tribal government and professional linguists for support. More than classes, they argue, the tribe needs to develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to rebuild respect for the languages and carve out space for their use.
Taking Back the Language is published by Native Science Report Press as part of its Voices of Language project, a new initiative examining how Native communities in the Americas are working to sustain and revitalize their threatened indigenous languages. Funded by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation, Voices of Language focuses on the work of individual educators and activists. By telling their stories, the project hopes to provide inspiration and insight to others taking part in this young movement.
Tim Grosser Ends a Decade of Service to Tribal Colleges
By Katie Scarlett Brandt
As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana in the early 1990s, Tim Grosser learned key lessons that would follow him throughout his career: how to do without and how to rely on others. Those lessons came to life most starkly when a combination of malaria and dysentery ate away at Grosser’s 5 foot 10 inch frame, whittling him down to 125 pounds. With nothing but the people directly around him, he had to rely on them to carry him to the hospital, where Grosser was certain he would die.
“Once you’re at that place, you can then do anything,” he said, roughly 25 years later. Grosser called his two years in Ghana, where he taught agriculture, some of the best of his life. His time there formed his outlook on how the rest of the world lives and how to get things done.
The National Science Foundation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program is hosting a webinar to provide more information about Tribal Enterprise Advancement Centers on Monday, April 30 at 3 p.m. eastern time.
A new addition to TCUP’s solicitation, TEA Centers enable tribal colleges “to become research and development resources for their reservations and communities.” Specifically, “TEA Centers may address a critical tribal or community need or focus on a realm of STEM research or design that is beyond the scope of individual research grants or that is of interest to multiple tribes.”
The April 30 webinar will discuss what is meant by the term TEA Center, required elements of a center proposal, and examples possible center themes. Chief academic officers are particularly encouraged to participate since they are the suggested PI’s for TEA Center grants, along with other relevant colleagues.
Advance registration for the webinar is not required. Simply use the link below (to see the slides and listen to the conversation) or the call-in number to join.
To join the Webex meeting:
Meeting number (access code): 749 044 164 Meeting password: Tcup2018!
Or join by phone:
+1-415-655-0002 US Toll
A new video, released this past weekend by the National Science Foundation, is spotlighting the role of research within tribally controlled colleges.
Focusing on student and faculty research supported by the NSF’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP), the twenty-minute documentary explores how tribal colleges “are providing acclaimed STEM leadership in education and research,” according to the NSF. The video, titled “A Best Kept Secret,” features research taking place within eight colleges, ranging from Northwest Indian College in Washington State, which is tracking toxins in shellfish, to Salish Kootenai College in Montana, where the effects of climate change are monitored in the productivity of huckleberry bushes. These and other studies support student learning while also promoting economic development and informed policy-making within tribal nations, according to the video.
Most tribal colleges are located in impoverished communities and all work with fewer resources than most mainstream colleges and universities. Additionally, many students also arrive with limited academic preparation. “In spite of that,” the NSF noted, “the TCUs are preparing their students for baccalaureate degrees, graduate studies, and to take their places as scientific resources for their people and the nation.”
The full video can be viewed here:
The NSF/EHR Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings has a search for a program officer in science education.
This temporary position addresses science education broadly. In other words, the candidate can have a specialization in any science or science-related focus, such as science identity. As stated in the job description, the NSF seeks applicants who are able to demonstrate knowledge of, and a record of contributing to, STEM education in the broad area of science learning and teaching; demonstrate knowledge of research related to how educational experiences in K-12 and/or informal settings can enhance STEM workforce and career development; and demonstrate research, analytical and technical writing expertise as evidenced by publications and other documents.
The job posting can be found here: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/494808400. The closing date for this position is April 23.
Beginning with uncertain plans and a few false starts, Student Research Award winner Jusden Keliikuli found support and success at Kapiolani Community College.
I’ve come a long way with my college education.
In high school, I didn’t prepare for college. I completed the SAT test at the last minute before graduation and received low scores. Attending a local community college became my best option. While taking a year off before enrolling, nursing became an interest. The salary, along with the opportunity to care for others, was very appealing. So I started my college career by majoring in nursing at Kapiolani Community College (KCC), where I completed prerequisite courses. I transferred to Hawaii Pacific University (HPU), hoping to be accepted into its nursing program. While at KCC and HPU, however, my interest for nursing gradually faded, which affected my grades. Eventually, I decided to drop out of HPU for financial, academic, and personal reasons.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Undergraduate research is a growing part of the STEM curriculum within many tribal and Native serving colleges. The opportunity to conduct original research, even in the first years of study, strengthens learning and, faculty report, increases student interest in STEM disciplines traditionally overlooked by Native students. Additionally, research projects devised by students often focus on the needs of their own communities and frequently honor traditional values and unique cultural knowledge, producing innovative projects and new approaches to scholarship.
To highlight and support this work, we put out a call to tribal colleges and Native-serving universities nationwide, inviting submissions to our new Student Research Award program. For the spring 2018 academic term, three submissions were chosen for publication, beginning with Kapiolani Community College student Jusden Keliikuli’s paper below.
Congratulations to Mr. Keliikuli–and to the other awardees who will be featured in the coming months.
–Dr. Paul Boyer, Editor
How fo’ solve one Atwood System in Pidgin
by Jusden Keoni Keli‘ikuli
Physics is a difficult subject that I struggled to understand. But I was able to succeed with the help and encouragement of Dr. Herv´e Collin who allowed me to write this physics research paper in Hawai‘i Creole English (HCE), also known as Pidgin in Hawai‘i. I consider Pidgin as my first language because I grew up in the moku (district) of Wai‘anae on the mokupuni (island) of O‘ahu where Pidgin is commonly spoken. Writing in Pidgin helped to bridge the language gap between Pidgin and English, thus making it easier for me to clarify and comprehend physics concepts and problem solving methods. Not only has writing in Pidgin increased my physics comprehension, but it also made physics and writing more enjoyable for me. I hope that this research paper will help my fellow k¯anakas and Pidgin-speaking students succeed in physics and inspire other k¯anakas to purse a career in STEM. The full paper PDF file can be downloaded here: Jusden Keliʻikuli’s pidgin research paper
The National Science Foundation, in partnership with Popular Science, invites researchers and members of the general public to submit their best science or engineering visualization to this year’s “Vizzies Challenge.”
Visualizations include animations, apps, illustrations, or photographs that help explain scientific or engineering concepts. According to the NSF, they “connect scientists and citizens, creating a universal language that enables people the world over to exchange knowledge and to understand scientific ideas and phenomena.”
Entries may be submitted by individuals or by teams by visiting www.nsf.gov/Vizzies. NSF and PopSci.com will feature the winning entries on their respective web sites. In addition, up to five Experts’ Choice winning entries will receive $2000 each, and up to three People’s Choice winning entries will receive $500 each.
This year’s Vizzies closes April 15.
To learn more about the competition, now in its 16th year, and view previous year’s winners see: www.nsf.gov/Vizzies.