National Breath of Life Prepares Summer 2020 Workshops

Nov. 4, 2019

National Breath of Life Prepares Summer 2020 Workshops

Eugene, Oregon — The National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages announces the second of two workshops to foster advanced archive-based linguistics research for language revitalization. The workshop will be hosted by the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon from July 13 to 17, 2020.

The field of archive-based linguistic research for revitalization has grown significantly. With four iterations between 2011 and 2017, and the inaugural workshop held earlier this year at Miami University, the institute has provided training on the use of archival documentation for the revitalization of highly endangered languages to 124 community researchers from 55 language communities. With this growth comes the need for software to support the advancement of the research.

The workshops are designed to train participants in advanced methods of archive-based research for language revitalization. This includes the use of the new Indigenous Languages Digital Archive.

The archive system is the only available software that allows for the organization, storage and retrieval of digital copies of linguistic archival materials. The Indigenous Languages Digital Archive directly links original manuscript pages containing historical language data, with their transcription, translation and analysis. Its powerful search function allows for the in-depth linguistic analysis required for the reconstruction of a highly endangered or sleeping language.

The software is modeled after the Miami-Illinois Digital Archive created in 2012 through the Myaamia Center at Miami University. After years of development and continued testing by a team of Nuu-wee-ya’ researchers at the University of Oregon’s Northwest Indian Language Institute, it is now being more broadly released.

“The development of the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive is in recognition of and support for the rigorous linguistic analysis that community researchers carry out in order to revitalize their languages,” said Dr. Gabriela Pérez Báez, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Oregon and co-director of National Breath of Life.

In September 2018, the Myaamia Center was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Advancement Grant Level III (HAA-261218-18), in partnership with the Northwest Indian Language Institute, to finalize the development of the archive software and to carry out the workshops.

Dr. Janne Underriner, director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute, welcomes the opportunity to host the workshop next year. “We are honored to be partnering with the National Breath of Life team in this important national workshop,” she said. “We look forward to hosting community language leaders from across the nation.”

Myaamia Center director Daryl Baldwin said he looks forward to expanding the archive’s community base. “We are excited to move the Breath of Life model into the next phase of development with the distribution of Indigenous Languages Digital Archive to communities who are ready for this next important step in archive-based language revitalization,” said Baldwin, who is co-director of the National Breath of Life.

Applications to the upcoming workshop open Nov. 4, 2019. For more information, including application information, visit

National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages