English Applied Linguistics Speaker Series, 2017-8

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
English Applied Linguistics Speaker Series, 2017-8
Friday, April 20, 2018 -
4:30pm to 5:30pm

ILC room 125

Language is Who We Are, Language is Who I am -The Role of Indigenous Language Reclamation in [Re]Constructing Indigenous Academic Identities


The work of Indigenous language revitalization is often a deeply personal one.  Many who are engaged in this work express their involvement as “heeding a call,” or “attending  to” the language as a responsibility for Indigenous survival, continuity, self-determination and sovereignty.  As such, this work is premised on the unique perspective of their experiences, and from the vantage point of their observations and research of contemporary Indigenous/ tribal communities (Cajete, 2014).  I share my personal journey on the trajectory of Indigenous language revitalization work, one that resurfaced a deeply internalized and culturally distinct epistemological foundation.  My case exemplifies how self-reflection and critical research provide perspectives for reintegrating our cultural philosophies into our contemporary identity (re)construction processes and extending into the intellectual context of academia.

Dr. Sheilah Nicholas is a member of the Hopi Tribe. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies (TLSS) at UA and faculty Instructor for the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI).  Her scholarship focuses on  Indigenous/Hopi language maintenance and reclamation; Indigenous language ideologies and epistemologies; the intersection of language, culture and identity; and Indigenous language teacher education. She is co-principal investigator of a multi-university national study, “Indigenous-Language Immersion and Native American Student Achievement” funded by the Spencer Foundation. Her own upcoming research will engage a Hopi community school in a self-study regarding the role of schools in language reclamation efforts.