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Contact: Patricia McBroom
(510) 643-7944


A week-long "Breath of Life" workshop - the fourth of its kind - devoted to resurrecting extinct Native American languages by training tribal descendants to use UC Berkeley's century-old archives, the world's largest repository of information on California Indian languages.

Daryl Baldwin of Indiana's Miami Nation, will give a public address about resurrecting his ancestral language, in part by teaching his four children to speak fluent Miami, two of them as their first language.


Workshop: Monday through Friday June 12-16, 8:30 am to 5 p.m., with concluding presentations on Saturday morning, June 17 at 8 a.m.

Public address: Tuesday evening, June 13, at 7:30 p.m. Baldwin's address is titled "Bringing a Lost Language Home: A Native American Success story in Language Revitalization."


Workshop: Room 370 in Dwinelle Hall on the UC Berkeley campus

Public Address: Room 145, Dwinelle Hall

WHO: Forty participants representing 20 languages will attend the workshop under the direction of Leanne Hinton, UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and board member of Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. Twice the size of past years, the workshop includes new participants from such California language groups as Mono, Eastern Pomo, Sierra Miwok and Maidu. Returning participants come from such groups as coastal Miwok, Rumsen, Wiyot and Northern Pomo.  
BACKGROUND: Throughout the past century, California Indians who saw their languages and cultures disappearing agreed to work with scientists to preserve their knowledge in university archives. Now descendants of those individuals are coming back to resurrect these traditions. Participants at the Breath of Life workshops have begun to read, speak, tell stories and even conduct weddings in their ancestral languages. Participants are paired with graduate students in linguistics who help them reconstruct the sounds and words of extinct languages through old anthropological fieldnotes, tapes and other documents.

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