Summer 2019 Review

Summer 2019

This past June, 21 individuals from 10 states, representing 13 Tribal Nations, participated in AILDI’s annual summer session. Four courses that focused on linguistics, culture and language in the field of education and in the classroom, and immersion methods were offered. Faculty included Sheilah Nicholas (Hopi), Stacey Oberly (Southern Ute), Philip Stevens (San Carlos Apache) and guest lecturer, Vanessa Anthony-Stevens. Special noontime presentations that featured traditional ecological knowledge, language and STEM education were made by Greg Cajete (Tewa), Megan Bang (Ojibwe) Seth Pilks and Twyla Cassadore (San Carlos Apache).

A highlight of the summer program was a symposium that celebrated AILDI’s 40 years of Language Education. The two-day event brought together AILDI’s founders and long-time supporters to reflect on the role AILDI has played in all areas of language work. Featured speakers were: Lucille Wathomigie (Hualapai), Leanne Hinton, Teresa McCarty, and Jennie DeGroat (Navajo).

Also attending the summer session this year was a cohort of students from the University of Idaho. The students are in the Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program (IKEEP), funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The cohort will attend AILDI again next summer.

The annual baidaj harvest held the third weekend in June gave students the opportunity to pick saguaro fruit using traditional Tohono O’odham methods.

Another highlight included the immersion lesson demonstrations held at the end of the session. Student evaluations indicated that the practice and delivery of the lessons gave them the opportunity to learn the principles of immersion and to see the variety of ways different immersion lessons can be developed. Students also mentioned that AILDI offers a safe and supportive environment for the discussion and practice of using language, which is important to many second language learners.