UO community researchers to attend Breath of Life 2.0 workshop

A team from the UO is helping lead a workshop this summer at Miami University in Ohio to train scholars to use unique software to restore and preserve indigenous languages at risk of disappearing.

Four UO faculty members, an undergraduate student and a UO alumna will attend the National Breath of Life 2.0 workshop held July 15-19 at the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The workshop will provide training in the use of the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive, the only available software that allows for the organization, storage and retrieval of digital linguistic archival materials.

“The field of revitalization of languages that have been dormant at some point has grown dramatically,” said Gabriela Pérez Báez, assistant professor of linguistics and co-director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages. “ILDA ultimately allows a community to develop an archive that is under their control, organized on their own terms and processed for the purpose of advancing their own goals.”

The researchers are currently working on Nisenan, Oneida, Menominee and Numa, as well as the languages of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians — Hanis, Miluk, Alsea and Siuslaw.

Since 2011, the National Breath of Life has provided training on the use of archival documentation for the revitalization of highly endangered and dormant languages to 117 community researchers from 55 language communities.

The National Breath of Life 2.0 workshop is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant was awarded to Daryl Baldwin, director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University, and Pérez Báez.

A second National Breath of Life 2.0 workshop will be hosted at the UO in summer 2020.