FAQ

What is the difference between BOL 1.0 and BOL 2.0?

National BoL 1.0 assists tribal communities in accessing the extensive archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives (NAA) of the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Library of Congress and in using them for language revitalization. During the two-week hands-on workshop, community members are partnered with a trained linguist, and together navigate Smithsonian and Library of Congress archives and collections, locate and acquire documents, interpret writing systems, and transform archival materials into practical lessons for language learning. Participants also have training in fundamental linguistics and the use of archival documentation. National BoL workshops in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 utilized the National BoL 1.0 model.

The new National BoL 2.0 is a one-week workshop designed to build capacity around advanced archives-based research for revitalization. National BoL 2.0 offers training in the management of digital archival collections and advanced linguistic analysis of data for language revitalization to community researchers who already possess archival materials. The training is done through the use of the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA), the only available software that allows for the organization, storage and retrieval of digital copies of linguistic archival materials, and directly links independent data derived from linguistic analysis to the original manuscript pages. Its powerful search function allows for the in-depth linguistic analysis required for the reconstruction of a highly endangered or sleeping language. The National Breath of Life workshops in 2019 (Myaamia Center at Miami University) and 2020 (Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon) will utilize the National BoL 2.0 model.

More questions?

Contact us at nationalbol@miamioh.edu

Breath of Life 1.0

What are the dates of the institute?

There are currently no planned National Breath of Life 1.0 workshops.

Is Breath of Life 1.0 Workshop right for me?

There are many programs for Native American language revitalization, and while all commonly challenge the dominant assumptions that native languages cannot be revitalized or don’t have contemporary value, these programs vary significantly in their goals, approaches, and target language communities. Many language programs involve learning from living speakers through approaches like master-apprentice or immersion school programming. Some programs focus more on documentation methods and still others share a wide range of approaches to language revitalization in general.

National Breath of Life (BOL) 1.0 is specifically geared toward the task of finding, interpreting, and utilizing information from archival sources, such as written materials and audio recordings. For this reason, this Institute will be of particular interest for members of communities whose languages are not currently spoken, though communities with speakers can also benefit by discovering new vocabulary, uncovering old speech styles, and otherwise finding and learning language information held in archival form.

Participants in National BOL 1.0 will benefit most when there is a significant quantity of archival material in the various archival collections. These archives house thousands of resources (field notebooks, other manuscripts, audio recordings, photographs) related to Native American Language and culture. Program organizers will verify that adequate archival materials are available before final selections are made.

Beyond a general commitment to language learning from archival sources, one crucial detail is that participants must be willing and able to commit to attend and actively participate in the entire Institute. Aside from truly unforeseen circumstances such as illness, it will not be possible to arrive late, leave early, or to skip the required workshops and events.

Breath of Life 2.0

Is the National Breath of Life 2.0 Workshop right for me?

There are many programs for Native American language revitalization, and while all commonly challenge the dominant assumptions that native languages cannot be revitalized or don’t have contemporary value, these programs vary significantly in their goals, approaches, and target language communities. Many language programs involve learning from living speakers through approaches like master-apprentice or immersion school programming. Some programs focus more on documentation methods and still others share a wide range of approaches to language revitalization in general.

The National Breath of Life (BOL) 2.0 workshop is specifically geared toward building capacity around advanced archives-based research for revitalization. National BOL 2.0 will offer training in the management of digital archival collections and advanced linguistic analysis of data for language revitalization to community researchers who already possess archival materials. The training will be done through the use of the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA), the only available software that allows for the organization, storage and retrieval of digital copies of linguistic archival materials, and directly links independent data derived from linguistic analysis to the original manuscript pages. Its powerful search function allows for the in-depth linguistic analysis required for the reconstruction of a highly endangered or sleeping language. ILDA is modelled after the Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA).

For this reason, National BOL 2.0 will be of particular interest for members of communities whose languages are not currently spoken, though communities with speakers can also benefit by discovering new vocabulary, uncovering old speech styles, and otherwise finding and learning language information held in archival form.

Participants will benefit most when they have already collected a significant quantity of archival linguistic material from archival collections.

Beyond a general commitment to language learning from archival sources, one crucial detail is that participants must be willing and able to commit to attend and actively participate in the entire Institute. Aside from truly unforeseen circumstances such as illness, it will not be possible to arrive late, leave early, or to skip the required workshops and events.

What are the dates of 2019 workshop?

The dates for the 2019 National Breath of Life 2.0 Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages are July 15th through July 19th, 2019. The workshop will take place at Miami University, in Oxford, OH. The dates for the 2020 workshop have not yet been established.

Please note that a second workshop in 2020 will be held at the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon. The two training hubs were set up to facilitate travel and reduce transportation costs. As you apply, please consider which location is easier and most cost effective to travel to. Take into account that the Institute is only able to reimburse participants up to $600 in travel expenses. The call for applications for the 2020 workshop will be announced in late 2019.

When are applications due?

The application period begins November 1, 2018, with applications due by December 15, 2018.

When will we hear whether our application has been accepted?

Applicants will be notified in January, 2019 of their application status.

What are the eligibility requirements?

We give preference for Community Researcher Applications to Native Americans and First Nations peoples who are learning and revitalizing their languages.

Applications for Linguistic Partners may be from graduate students, faculty, and other scholars who specialize in Linguistics (preferably in Native American or First Nations languages).

How will applications be judged?

Applications will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Commitment to language learning and revitalization using archival resources.
  • Commitment to sharing results of the workshop with other language learners through community programs or by creating projects that are widely accessible.
  • Personal and/or communal language goals are clearly stated.
  • Demonstrate some degree of support for your interest. This can be done by listing ways in which you interact with others interested in learning to speak your language.
  • Demonstrate that you hold sufficient digital copies of archival resources on the language and have authority to carry out research on them.

Must I attend the entire workshop, or can I come for just part?

You must attend the entire time. Classes, research and homework will fill the timeframe. During the evenings you will have some free time, but full attendance and participation is required of all who apply and are accepted into the program.

Do participants need to be enrolled members of a Federally Recognized Tribe?

No. We give preference to applicants who are actively involved in their native communities, but we do not require that participants be enrolled members. If the applicant is not a member of a tribe they should demonstrate some degree of communal support for their participation. In some cases, tribes will send language program employees who may not be enrolled members of the tribes they work with.

Do participants need to be U.S. citizens?

No.

How many people from a given community can come?

This will depend partly on the total number of applications received. It is likely that the number of participants from any given community will be limited to less than to four (4).

Can we bring our families?

No. Due to housing and program restrictions, we are unable to accommodate families, including children.

Does each member of our group need to apply individually?

Yes. Each member of a language team should submit an application by the December 15, 2018 deadline.

What will we be doing?

You will be attending morning lectures and workshops on how to use the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA). This may include preparing digital surrogates, transcribing documentation, and linguistic analysis in ILDA. Afternoons will be spent in practicums where groups will practice using ILDA with their own archival sources. We will also be assigning homework exercises for you to work on in the evening. Every group will also present to the group on what they accomplished during the workshop, as well as their plans for moving forward.

What are the technology requirements?

Teams should bring one or more laptops to the workshop in order to work with their archival materials and ILDA. At least some of the team members should be familiar with the basics of spreadsheets and document editing.

How much free time will we have?

Some evenings when you feel caught up on homework.

What expenses might we expect to have?

Community Research applicants will be required to pay $100 (in US dollars) per application to help defer costs of this program. We do offer a limited number of scholarships for applicants who can demonstrate a financial need. Please contact us about available scholarships.

You will be paying for your own breakfast and dinners. Your room accommodations will have fully functioning kitchens so you will be able to prepare your own breakfast and dinners and won’t need to eat out for your meals.

We have the funds to partially subsidize transportation costs up to $600 per person. In order to make travel easier and more cost effective, the National BoL 2.0 will host two workshops: the 2019 workshop will be held at the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, OH and the 2020 workshop will be held at the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. As you apply, please consider which location is easier and most cost effective to travel to.

While you should not incur local transportation costs, you will probably have incidental transportation costs of your own. Bring money for office supplies and other incidental expenses.

How will we get around?

Oxford Ohio is a small town, and most participants will be able to walk from the provided housing accommodations to the workshop locations around Miami University, as well as to restaurants and shops in Uptown Oxford. If you have concerns about accessibility, please contact us.

Are you paying for our transportation?

We have the funds to partially subsidize transportation costs up to $600 per person. In order to make travel easier and more cost effective, the National BoL 2.0 will host two workshops: the 2019 workshop will be held at the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, OH and the 2020 workshop will be held at the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. As you apply, please consider which location is easier and most cost effective to travel to.

Upon notification of acceptance, we will be in touch with participants about how to make transportation arrangements.

Where will we stay?

We will be using Miami University housing to provide furnished four bedroom apartments. More information will be provided at the time of acceptance.

More questions?
Contact us at nationalbol@miamioh.edu