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Meet the 2024 Fellows!

Updated: Jul 2



We are beyond honored and excited to announce our 2024 Language Revitalization Fellowship finalists. This year’s fellowship application process was extremely competitive and garnered over 2,100 applicants. It was really difficult to select just eight fellows, but we are incredibly proud of the strong and varied group we’ve accumulated.


These individuals show incredible promise, determination and passion. We look forward to our program this summer in the hopes of not only teaching and empowering our fellows but also learning from them. Our powerhouse of fellows bring a unique and insightful perspective to language revitalization that we are looking forward to sharing with you all. Let’s meet this year's fellows!


It's not too late to support these amazing individuals. Your donation will go directly to lifting up our fellows and their language work!







Lisa Casarez


Maraashi Hihci Nagabugii’sh heec. Mii ciicga naagic. Adi ixoodagii aru naharee’sh sheeguhaag. My Hiráaca name is Pink Blossom and I am Prairie Chicken Clan. I am from White Lodge Stands (Mandaree, North Dakota). I am an enrolled member of the MHA Nation and an L2 Heritage Learner and speaker of the  Hiráaca language. I have an

Associates degree in Media Arts from United Tribes Technical College, a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from University of North Dakota and currently finishing up a Master of Arts in Native American Linguistics from the University of Arizona. I have been a k12 Hidatsa language teacher in my home community of Mandaree, as well as an adjunct instructor for Nueta Hidatsa and Sahnish College. I currently serve as Executive Director for the 501c3 Hiráaca Maa Aru Cáawi, an organization dedicated to Hiráaca Language reclamation. My goals for this Fellowship include being able to produce a tangible learning resource for Hiráaca language learners that may assist them on their language journey. I’m excited to connect, share and hopefully inspire my cohort fellows with their own projects and language work.


Connect:

Instagram: hihci_nagabugiish

Facebook: Lisa Casarez Flies Away




Karyna Keliohlo



Karyna Keliohlo is a Gagauz-Ukrainian youth leader, serial scholar, and indigenous heritage and language enthusiast. She majored in political science at government Turkish, German, and Ukrainian universities. Karyna worked at the Ukrainian Parliament, MFA, UNICEF, private education, and nonprofit sectors. Recently, Keliohlo completed her internship at the Ukrainian Embassy in Ankara and the 1st ever Gagauz Cultural Days. Karina is fluent in Ukrainian, Gagauz, Turkish, English, and Russian and now upskilling in German. Now, she collaborates with the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) as a trilingual interpreter and translator. As a 2024 Language Revitalization Fellow, Karyna will create a Gagauz online course.




Carina Peterson

Carina Peterson is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Northern California. She recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Native American and Indigenous Studies and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology with a focus in Cultural Anthropology. Carina grew up on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, and is currently working towards becoming a certified language teacher for the Hoopa Valley Tribe. She worked as a college intern for the Hupa Language Immersion Nest. As part of the position she worked in language immersion and with elder speaker Verdena Parker. She plans to continue working with Verdena and becoming a teacher at the Hupa Language Immersion Nest.


Goals for this upcoming fellowship:


To help create more inclusive and interactive ways for families to learn and refresh their Na:tinixwe Mixine:whe (Hupa Language) at home and to support the community.


What I'm most excited about:

The opportunity to meet and create community with fellow cohort members while learning different approaches towards language revitalization together.


Connect

Instagram: c4rin44

Facebook: Carina Peterson


Andy Amaya


Sham maripo u chero u pele u ko u tz’a. U latan-na Andy-pa. Los Angeles-k'ati yanu. U isko Quelepa i Lenca-lipa. Hello friends, my name is Andy! I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. My family is of mixed afro-indigenous heritage from El Salvador and Guatemala. I studied Linguistics with an Emphasis in Chinese at the University of California, Santa Barbara and I am a Certified California Naturalist. I have several years in the world of education, ranging from instructor, administrative, and executive positions.


I have a passion for languages and language learning. I speak English and Spanish fluently, Mandarin Chinese at a basic level, and I have research knowledge on Mescalero Apache, Maya K’iche’, Tongva, Nawat, Cacaopera, Lenca Kotik (Honduras), and most principally: Lenca Poton/Putum (El Salvador). My passion is in the revitalization and documentation of my People’s language: Lenca. I love to garden, to travel, to dance, and to play music.


Goals for this upcoming fellowship:


I aim to deepen my understanding of effective methodologies for revitalizing languages, especially coming from people who are passionate about preserving their cultural heritage. I am excited to learn more theoretical knowledge and practical applications, learning from successful cases, and understanding the cultural contexts that contribute to language survival and revival.


I also am eager to contribute to the academic body of work on language revitalization for Lenca. This includes conducting original research, documenting best practices, and potentially developing new frameworks that can be used by other linguists and language activists. There is a grand lack of resources and tools for those who are interested in learning Lenca Languages. I also aim to publish my findings and present them to the community. I am committed to enhancing my skills in using digital tools for language documentation and revitalization. I plan to explore innovative technologies that can aid in the preservation and teaching of Lenca, especially for future learners.


I am very well aware that the language revitalization work I am conducting is that of generations. Lenca people in both Honduras and El Salvador face many obstacles that direct their immediate focus on food security and land tenure. I dream of the future community led schools that will one day be possible. However my main goal is to plant seeds so that one day people of future generations can enjoy the fruits.


What I'm most excited about:


I am very excited to meet like minded people passionate about their cultural heritage and language. I love to learn about the grand diversity that is reflected in our languages. It is amazing to think about all the unique stories, knowledge, and worldviews embedded in each language, and I love to hear all about it. Plus it is going to be fascinating to see the methods and techniques that have made real differences in language revitalization/revival.



Brandi Ramus


ɬax̣áwyam, brandi nayka yax̣al. Hello, my name is Brandi.


I am an enrolled member of the Chinook Indian Nation, a devoted partner, mama and chich(grandma). I am also the Community Outreach Coordinator for our Tribe and an active member on our Health & Social Services Committee. I have a strong desire to help people create and sustain a loving balance in their lives.


I began studying Chinuk Wawa in 2021 at Lane Community College. As I connected with our language I found I was also making lasting connections with other Tribal members. After studying Chinuk Wawa for two years, I had the opportunity to teach our language to high school students as part of their summer school program in Astoria, Oregon.


In my free time I enjoy learning Cedar weaving, traditional beadwork, and learning about my people's histories. I enjoy listening to stories passed down generations, and integrating our culture into my family's daily lives. I also enjoy hiking in nature with my dog and partner and spending time with family.


Goals for this upcoming fellowship:


My goal for the upcoming fellowship is to share our Chinook Wawa language with anyone interested in learning, developing a pathway for future learners, creating connections and fostering community with other Tribal members and students alike.


What I'm most excited about:


Having and sharing the honor of helping others learn more of our native language. So much of our history was taken, stolen or hidden from us, and now we have a beautiful opportunity to keep our language alive, to rebuild our knowledge and use of our language and to help future generations grow up learning our language and ways.


Connect:

Instagram: @veganbrandi

Instagram: @allupinmybeadness



Tanner Barney

Tanner Barney, an enrolled descendant of the Karuk Tribe, is a Native academician holding lived experience with language regeneration, traditional ecological knowledge, and Indigenous pedagogical frameworks. He recently received a Master of Arts in Native American Studies, where his thesis was centered around Karuk language regeneration and the incorporation of Indigenous theory and methodologies into Western technology. Tanner is a supporter of Indigenous peoples in higher education and creating academic space for Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing.


Goal for the Upcoming Fellowship:


My goal for this upcoming fellowship is to develop skills in content management and curriculum-building systems, while also providing more material for Araráhih (Karuk language) learners. To this, I’m interested in creating material that spans from introductory to intermediate, with a focus on sentence structure and maintaining or exemplifying appropriate cultural context.


What I'm Most Excited About:


I’m excited to work with other people from around the world to expand my knowledge and consider other ways of doing that I may not have considered before. I’m also excited for discussion - having the chance for us to provide what we know and synthesize thoughts as a group.



Kelvin Ndegwa


Kelvin Ngachira Ndegwa is a dedicated professional from Kenya with a

diverse background in agriculture, entrepreneurship, and community

development. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Personality Skills and

Entrepreneurship Development and a BSc. in Agricultural Economics and

Resource Management. As the Co-Founder and Programs Manager of Serene

Haven Community-Based Organization, Kelvin has led initiatives focused

on educational support for teenage mothers, climate action, and

gender-based violence prevention. He is passionate about creating social

impact and empowering marginalized communities. Ndegwa is an ethnic El

Molo who has watched his native language, music, cuisine, and culture

fizzle out before his eyes. Ndegwa is a language and cultural enthusiast

and is a learner of his heritage language. He is determined to work to

reconnect with his ancestral language and culture and revive the same

within his lifetime.


Goal for the Upcoming Fellowship:

My primary goal for this fellowship is to design and implement effective

language learning materials and technology tools that will aid in the

revitalization of the El Molo Language. I aim to collaborate closely

with community members to ensure that our projects are culturally

relevant and impactful.


What I'm Most Excited About:

I am most excited about the opportunity to learn new strategies and

tools for language revitalization and to share success stories that can

inspire others. Additionally, I look forward to the chance to connect

with fellow cohort members and exchange ideas and experiences that will

enrich our collective efforts.



Tyler Lee-Wynant


ma:na:m, tsin t̪a ma naʔ ('Hello, world!')


I am an incoming doctoral student in the Linguistics PhD program at UC Berkeley and a heritage learner of Northern Pomo (one of the many Indigenous languages of California). As a linguist and heritage learner, I find it paramount in my work to bridge the gap between linguistic insight, language documentation, and community language learning efforts. My great-great aunt Edna Guerrero ("Auntie") worked with linguists over several decades to document our language. With the growing community effort to learn Northern Pomo, I am beyond thrilled to continue Auntie's work by developing pedagogical resources and working closely with the extensive documentation of our language.


Goals for this upcoming fellowship:

My goal is to create a reliable introductory language course for learners of Northern Pomo. While there are wonderful resources available to learners (an online dictionary and phrasicon), there is yet to be a pedagogical resource of this kind. I seek to connect the knowledge within available resources and language documentation through the development of this language course.


What I'm excited about:

I'm most excited about connecting with fellow members of my cohort to learn about their language experiences and to brainstorm methods for developing effective language learning resources.



We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to the AMB Foundation, Esperantic Studies Foundation, and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for their support of this program.


With over 2,100 applicants for this year's fellowship, the many individuals and communities who applied only further enforced how dire the need is for language revitalization resources.


We spoke with folks of all ages who were determined to sustain their language, heritage and culture but needed more assistance than we could provide at this time. Imagine the possibilities if we had the financial funding to support all of the communities and individuals who reach out their hands for help?


With a donation of just $25 you can start providing a community with the resources they need to begin the critical revitalization process. Supporting our mission grows our impact, and shows people that their languages, voices and cultures matter.






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