An example of Cherokee bead work. Photo courtesy of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

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CULLOWHEE – “Envisioning Language Revitalization” is the theme for a pair of gatherings that will be held at Western Carolina University later in June that will focus on efforts to preserve the languages of small populations.

An example of Cherokee bead work. Photo courtesy of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

The Envisioning Language Revitalization Summit will be held Monday, June 20, and Tuesday, June 21. The summit will allow administrators, educators and researchers who are documenting, revitalizing and maintaining languages to discuss the goals, implementation and assessment of language programs, with a particular focus on the use of language in instruction for children from birth to sixth grade, and on second-language education in the community.

Attendance at the summit is by invitation-only, but it will be followed by the Envisioning Language Revitalization Symposium, which is free and open to everyone who is interested in preserving endangered languages. The symposium will be held all day on Wednesday, June 22, and Thursday, June 23, in the Peele, Westmoreland Suhre, Hartshorn Hospitality Room of WCU’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

Symposium participants will present their work on language documentation and language program implementation, with a focus on multimodal and multifunctional language techniques and materials that can be used in the classroom for general kindergarten through sixth-grade education, and which can be used by potential speakers of the language in the community.

Symposium presenters will include Tom Belt, visiting instructor of Cherokee in WCU’s Cherokee Language Program; Margaret Bender, an anthropologist from Wake Forest University; Rainy S. Brake of the new Kituwah Immersion School; Sara L. Snyder of Columbia University; Eastern Band member Nannie Taylor; and Hartwell Francis, director of the WCU program.

Both gatherings are being organized by WCU’s Cherokee Language Program and the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The project is sponsored in part by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

More symposium information, including links to agendas, is available online at http://www.wcu.edu/29039.asp. More information also is available by contacting Hartwell Francis at (828) 227-2303 or hfrancis@wcu.edu.

Kathleen O'Nan

Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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