Nearly two dozen of the approximately 100 last remaining speakers of the Acoma Keres language have answered the call for a new project designed to restore the language for generations to come.
Last month, they came together to record their voices for the Acoma Dictionary Workshop at the Acoma Learning Center in Sky City, New Mexico. Participants received a daily stipend of $100, plus lunch and transportation.
It was the first phase of a multi-year Acoma Language Recovery Plan, organized by the Pueblo of Acoma Department of Education, in partnership with The Language Conservancy, leaders in the fight to revitalize Native American languages.
“Acoma retains a rich and vibrant culture dating back more than 1200 years,” said Stanley Holder, executive director of the Department of Education. “But the tribal membership realized we were rapidly losing the language. We had to take a more systematic approach to language preservation and revitalization, which The Language Conservancy provides.”
Beyond the dictionary, the Language Recovery Plan aims to develop curriculum, instruction, electronic media, and certification of educators to teach the language in area schools at all grades.
The Pueblo of Acoma Department of Education was established in 2007 by the Acoma Tribal Council to develop quality educational services for the people of Acoma Pueblo.
The Language Conservancy is a nonprofit organization leading the revitalization of Native American languages by developing leading-edge programs and materials (from dictionaries to mobile apps) in partnership with tribes, and by advocating for endangered languages.