At todays Isleta Tribal Council meeting, Paul Lujan, Director of the Tiwa Language Program, and Inée Slaughter, Executive Director of the Indigenous Language Institute, (ILI), requested that the Tribe donate $10,000 as a sponsorship for the 5th Annual Indigenous Language Institute Symposium. The ILI provides workshops to teach people how to become better teachers of native languages.
The upcoming symposium is scheduled for October 20th & 21st at the Isleta Resort & Casino. The two day symposium will feature presenters who will share experiences about their individual, community and national initiatives to create new native speakers. For more information, click the following: 5th Annual Symposium.
Secretary Verna Teller asked whether they provided training on setting up a specific method for teaching a native language. Teller was concerned because the Tribe does not appear have a set process to teach our native language. Ms. Slaughter said, that they did offer such training.
Council member Juan Rey Abeita suggested that Paul Lujan establish an award program to give our young people an “incentive” to learn our native language. He recommended that, Lujan offer $1,000 or $2,000 as a cash prize for writing a poem in our native language. Or, he said, give $1,000 or $2,000 to have kids interview an elder. Abeita said, this will motivate the people to learn the language. He said, “I guarantee our people will be interested.”
The Council referred the sponsorship request to the Council’s donation committee. If approved, a sponsorship of $10,000 would allow the Tribe to be classified at a “Silver” level. This would allow the Tribe to get a mention in an ILI national press release, 3 registrations for attendance at the symposium and 6 tickets to attend a banquet.
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By Christopher Abeita