A New Technological Journey for the Umoⁿhoⁿ Nation


Image republished with author's permission.

Rising Voices note: This grantee project update is written by Valita Stabler leading the Against the Current project, based in Eastern Nebraska in the United States.

Ayoni (greetings!),

This is the beginning of an exciting technological journey for us. Although we have utilized technology in language revitalization efforts for many years now, we have never officially stepped into the social media world to spread the teachings.

Who are “we?”

Title VII language department staff that will serve as mentors and teachers during the recording process.

Title VII language department staff that will serve as mentors and teachers during the recording process.

We are a small group of individuals dedicated to documenting our language. As the lead of this particular project, I will be leaning on the knowledge and experience of those who have been the forerunners of our local efforts in the documentation and teaching of our language – the Title VII Language and Culture Department (L&C) at our local school. This particular department has taken the lead in language curriculum development for our Kindergarten through grade 12 school system. With the guidance of numerous elders over the years, the L&C department continues to create and develop language learning tools for our youth.

Our UmoNhoN Nation is a small tribe of only a few thousand. Many of these members do not live on the reservation and lack the opportunity to hear the our traditional language being spoken. With only a handful of fluent speakers left, this is also a rare occasion for those of us living on the reservation, as unless we have a fluent speaker living in our home, we are most likely to hear our language being spoken only during ceremonies.

We are clearly in a state of urgency to document and record. This project hopes to fill gaps and reach a broader audience. We will focus our efforts on creating videos that exemplify daily dialogue that can be practiced amongst two or more people.  We are all under a strong belief that the restoration efforts of our traditional UmoNhoN language must go beyond the teachings of a single word. Exposing learners to useful dialogue is the objective of this project.

We have just ordered equipment which will arrive next week. Our goal by the end of the week is to have our first recording published and shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a YouTube Channel. We will keep you posted.

Best to all!

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