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Celebrate Mother Language Day



In Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 26-27, 2017, the Indigenous Language Institute is holding it’s 8th annual symposium. The theme of the 8th Annual ILI Symposium 2017 will address the importance of comprehensible input and active listening of the target language for oral language development to create speakers.
The keynote speaker for the event is Stephen Krashen, with other speakers including Ryan DeCaire (Mohawk), Kaihuhatati Gerald L. Hill (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Layli Long Soldier (Lakota), Finlay Macleod (Scottish), Beniko Mason (Japanese), Kevin Shendo (Jemez Pueblo), and William Pila Wilson (Hawaii). A separate 2-day training event follows the ILI Symposium at the same venue, “Total Immersion Plus (TIP) Workshop” (Oct 26-27) led by Finlay Macleod.

Registration is still open on their site until October 6 at

More Information about Speakers:

Presenters will share their professional findings and personal experiences on this theme from various perspectives: as Language Learners, as Language Instructors/Mentors, as Linguists, as Language Program Directors.

Keynote Speaker for ILIS2017

Stephen Krashen, Keynote Speaker
Title: A Forty Years’ War
Synopsis: A war has been raging for 40 years, a war that has generated important research and a re-examination of methods. On one side, the Comprehension Hypothesis claims that comprehensible input is the cause of language acquisition – mastery of grammar and vocabulary is subconsciously acquired, the result of listening to and reading
interesting messages. In contrast, the Skill-Building Hypothesis says we must first consciously learn grammar rules and memorize vocabulary, and practice them in output. There is strong evidence that the brain is very good at acquiring language through comprehensible input, but not good at acquiring language through skill building.

Presenters for ILIS2017

Ryan DeCaire (Mohawk)
Title: Mohawk Language for Adults: The Express Route to Advanced Proficiency
Synopsis: Most methods employed in Indigenous language programs to date have rarely created speakers. This is often because they have depended on “traditional” methods developed for noun-based Euro-western languages, such as noun and phrase memorization, over-dependence on the written word, minimal focus on speaking, and little to no attention and consideration for the morphological patterns of Indigenous languages. These methods have proven ineffective for stimulating comprehension and acquisition of Indigenous languages because they rarely consider the special teaching and learning challenges inherent in the polysynthetic nature of Indigenous languages. As a second language Mohawk speaker, an instructor at Onkwawén:na Kentyóhkwa, a Mohawk language adult immersion school in Six Nations, Ontario, and assistant professor at University of Toronto, Ryan DeCaire will discuss best practices for creating advanced-level speaking proficiency based on his experience learning and teaching the Mohawk language.

Kaihuhatati Gerald L. Hill (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Chief Judge Court of Appeals, Oneida Judiciary; Indigenous Language Institute Board President
Title: Talk First; Reading and Writing Will Follow. Strategies for Conversation
Synopsis: The goal is acquisition of ones heritage language to the extent of fluent conversation. Easier said than done.
Many things are said about this but most are distractions. Both the learners and speakers/teachers must be in agreement about the intent. That means preparations, development of a plan, a strategy, a discipline that can lead to the goal. Active listening leads to comprehension which leads to speaking/conversing. This presentation with share some methods of doing that as well as discussing challenges that face both teachers, speakers and learners.

Layli Long Soldier (Lakota)
Title: Respect, Flexibility and Courage: Navigating Language Use as a Learner
Synopsis: As a poet and artist, Layli Long Soldier will share written and visual works that incorporate Lakota language and discuss the process of learning Lakota from a distance, away from Pine Ridge. She will discuss concerns of reliability in language learning materials; accountability for maintaining integrity and respect for language; and the dangers of separation—as a speaker away from home community—and the textual separation of words/phrases from the spoken language. In all, she will discuss the personal imperative to continue using Native language despite mistakes along the
way; the courage, humility and flexibility required to do so.

Finlay Macleod (Scottish)
Title: Moray Language Centre, Learning A Language On Your Own
Synopsis: The Moray Language Centre has created a new course and set of guidelines that will boost both speed and understanding for adults learning Gaelic. Students will use Total Immersion Plus centered language acquisition courses gaining a native like fluency. A unique feature of the guidelines is that they provide a detailed step by step approach,
whereby a student learns Gaelic on their own. This material has an innate transfer function that could benefit other worldwide minority languages. The guidelines allow a student to design a work day regime and a pace of learning that is entirely conducive to them. Mr. Macleod’s presentation will give clear and precise reasons why reading and writing should
not be embraced until a student has achieved a well defined Gaelic conversational fluency.

Beniko Mason (Japanese)
Title: Story-Listening Methodology
Synopsis: Dr. Mason will explain the theoretical background of Story Listening (SL) and its methodology, and will include the evidence supporting SL. It will explain the differences between SL and Storytelling, why folktales and fairytales are used, Do’s and Don’ts of SL, and what the SL Tool Kit is. Participants will observe examples of SL instruction, and will
be told where to look for stories and how to start an SL lesson.

Kevin Shendo (Jemez Pueblo) Education Director, Lana Garcia, Early Childhood Program Manager and Melissa Ye pa, Riverside Charter School Teacher
Title: How Jemez is Addressing Pre-literacy for Oral Language Learners Through Collaborative Efforts Between a Head Start and a Charter School
Synopsis: Come learn about the Walatowa Head Start Language Immersion Framework and how it has replaced Literacy and writing with Pre-literacy Development for English through vocabulary development, which is done through a Jemez language immersion approach. Print concepts and conventions as achieved through children’s picture books or charts, graphs and other materials will also be shared. The presentation will focus on the Immersion transition program being implemented in collaboration with San Diego Riverside Charter School: the changes the school has implemented, strategies, lessons learned and the collaborative efforts and work between the Head Start Immersion program and the
Tribal Department of Education.

Dr. William H. Wilson, Mokuola Honua Center and ‘Aha Pūnana Leo
Title: What is the next step once indigenous language oral proficiency exists?
Synopsis: How can we assure that Hawaiian immersion students master English – both spoken and written English? Can a third language be learned as well? Are there any distinctive indigenous methods to develop literacy and multilingualism?These questions will be addressed by Dr. William H. Wilson of the Mokuola Honua Center, a collaboration of the Pūnana Leo language nest preschools, their follow-up K-12 Nāwahī demonstration laboratory school, and 13-20 Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian language in Hilo Hawaiʻi. He will report how students in their Hawaiian immersion
program are outperforming students in English medium programs academically and linguistically.

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