2nd Annual Yuman Language Family Summit Conference Review
Colorado River Indian Tribe
- Parker, Arizona 2003

By Roy Cook

Auka! Thursday the 16th, begings with a Blessing by Larry Gates Sr., CRIT Mohave. The opening speech is provided by Kelly Washington, Maricopa. Lucille Watahomigie was the guest speaker: Lucille talked about the origin of the Yuman Language Family Summit: the challenges and accomplishments that has preceded this second annual Pai conferance. Larry Gates Sr., CRIT Mojave then presented a brief Origin of Mojave account from Epic times and a traditional oration of the Mojave Tribal history from his point of view.
Contact Person for General Assembly Presentations: Lucille Watahomigie, Hualapai Language Advocate
Phone #: 928-769-2289
e-mail: ljwata@frontiernet.net

Each of the Tribal Presentations present a greeting in their particular dialect of the Yuman language and a brief desription of the area that their tribe lives and how many there are of them.

Colorado River Indian Tribes:
CRIT Mojave - Viola Stone
Ft. Mojave - Betty Barackman
Hualapai - Rory Majente
Havasupai - Jim Uqualla
Yavapai - Kathrine Marquez & Karen Ray Maricopa - Kelly Washington
Quechan - Barbara Levy
Cocopah - Felicia Guitierrez
Kumeyaay - Hank Murphy
Pai Pai & Kiliwa - no representatives


Language workshops and Tribal Art workshops:
Title: Pai Language Advocacy
Presenter(s): Lucille J. Watahomigie, Philbert Watahomigie, Karen Ray, Katherine Marquez & Ted Vaughn Tribe(s): Hualapai, Ft. McDowell Yavapai, Camp Verde Yavapai & Prescott Yavapai Description: Presentation will be the history, the strategic planning, the two Pai Language Camps, the 1st Annual Yuman Language Summit. Handouts and videotapes of language activities will be shared

Title: Collaboration Across Communities: Kumeyaay Language Program Planning
Presenter(s): Kalim Smith, Nicole Alto, Barbara Cuero, Debbie Cuero, Paul Cuero, Jon Mesa, Shirley Murphy, Charolette Ochiqui & Stan Rodriquez Tribe(s): Kumeyaay
Description: This panel presentation will consist of elders and facilitators working with the Kumeyaay language in various Kumeyaay communities: Viejas tribal language program, Campo language project and DQ , Sycuan campus, University Panelists will discuss their experiences on various topics, including orthography, language through song and mythology, and inter-reservation collaboration.

Title: Yuman Language Survival
Presenter(s): Leanne Hinton Phd Tribe(s): N/A
Description: Two Ideas for Language Survival: the Master-Apprentice Program and bringing the language into the home. In this time when indigenous languages are deeply threatened, it may take extreme measures and special programs to keep the languages alive. She describes the Master-Apprentice Program that has been useful in California, it has helped adults to learn how to speak their language through work with an elder fluent speaker; and will also discuss ideas that families can be use for bringing the language into their home.

Title: Learning Mohave is Fun, Fun, Fun: Colors, Numbers & Days of the Week
Presenter(s): Viola Stone, Neva Eddy, & Jennifer Short Tribe(s): Mohave (CRIT)
Description: Participants will make their own set of flashcards for: numbers, days of the week and colors. Afterward, everyone will play Bingo, using words learned.

Title: Language Learning Tools: Work With What You Have
Presenter(s): Karen Ray Tribe(s): Ft. McDowell Yavapai
Description: Anything can be used in language teaching. One can use books, puppets, skits, songs, etc., to implement language teaching. Making simple flash cards, games, and computer lessons.

Title: Development in Writing the Yavapai Language
Presenter(s): Ted Vaughn Tribe(s): Prescott Yavapai
Description: Writing the Yavapai language using symbols of the English alphabet to represent Yavapai sounds. Presenter will demonstrate the implementation of the writing system in a multimedia computer presentation.

Title: Quechan Creation Story
Presenter(s): George Bryant Tribe(s): Quechan
Description: Presenter will share knowledge of Quechan stories / history. Other Yuman tribes are encouraged to attend and compare stories / histories.

Title: Starting Preschool Language Nests
Presenter(s): Jon Reyhner Tribe(s): N/A
Description: This presentation describes development of Maori and Hawaiian language nests. It describes how elders teach language through immersion in this day-care type setting.

Title: Maricopa Kinship Terms: Teaching Relations With a Kinship Diagram
Presenter(s): Kelly Washington Tribe(s): Xalychidom Piipaa (Maricopa-Salt River)
Description: In Maricopa, a traditionally appropriate greeting is the expression of kinship. Understanding kinship terms is culturally important and beneficial for new language learners. Kinship diagrams can be used to help teach native concepts and terms regarding family. The presenter will share the basics of how to create a kinship chart, using the Maricopa Language as an example. If time permits, audience will create their own kinship diagrams and share.

Title: Conducting Community Language Surveys
Presenter(s): Amelia Flores & Lonnie Wilder Tribe(s): Mohave (CRIT) / Hualapai
Description: Each presenter will make a ten-minute presentation on this topic from his or her own experience or program perspective. This will lead to a general discussion, in which the audience will break up into four groups to address specific questions related to conducting a language survey. Pre senters will interact with the audience to get as much participation as possible. Conclusions and statements of the audience will be reported at general session or be posted for conference participants.

Title: Hualapai Dual Language Program K - 12
Presenter(s): Philbert Watahomigie & Lucille J. Watahomigie Tribe(s): Hualapai
Description: The vision of the Hualapai Elders, their concern for the education of our children, their sharing of knowledge, through their roles as cultural bearers & teachers of the Hualapai Language and culture provided the knowledge base from which the Hualapai Bilingual/Dual Language Program was developed.

Title: Taking Pride in Using Kinship Terms for Our Extended Families:
Presenter(s): Malinda Powskey Tribe(s): Hualapai
Description: The use of kinship terms as it relates to greetings, introductions, addressing audiences, giving an oratory at ceremonial gatherings and wake performance. It knits families and groups together and forms a bond.

Title: Native American Languages and Technology
Presenter(s): Susan Penfield Tribe(s): N/A
Description: This presentation will document and project the work being done (through a collaborative grant offered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) between the University of Arizona and C.R.I.T. The focus of the project is to train tribal members in technology related to language use and preservation and to construct a website devoted to the topic of Native American Languages and technology.

Title: Traditional Practitioners of Today
Presenter(s): James Uqualla Tribe(s): Havasupai
Description: Focusing on the tribal individual of the day and Cultural and traditional responsibilities. How we can further assist the evolution of ethnicity positively, utilizing existing tools: Language, Traditions, Culture, and Spirituality. The intent is to motivate, and inspire, those in attendance.

Title: Hands Across the Border Kumeyaay Border Task Force (Note: this vital issue is included for significance. Political and other borders separate Tribal Nations. Sovereignty is again in jeopardy.) Presenter(s): Louie Gaussac (Not in attendance) Tribe(s): Kumeyaay
Description: For over fifty years, Kumeyaay people ( Also other Tribal Nations) have sought to remedy the pass and repass for the Baja Kumeyaay located in Baja California, Mexico. In 1998, the BIA established a consultation process for border tribes along the southern border region. Kumeyaay bands that are federally recognized, formed a Task Force which was delegated the responsibility to work with the federal agencies to find a solution to this long standing problem for Kumeyaay located in Baja California. Today, KBTF hae established a process to pass and re-pass the International Border separating the Kumeyaay of Mexico and the United States in San Diego County.

Along with the language workshops there were numerous extremely well attended Tribal Art workshops. (The committee had to post closed signs for fire code safety!)
We thank all of the Artists for their generosity in bringing their Tribal beauty, Regalia and culturally significant art to the Yuman/Pai conference.

Title: Quechan Doll Making
Presenter(s): Barbara Levy Tribe(s): Quechan
Description: Presenter shares the art of Quechan doll making.

Title: Hualapai Coyote Stories / Kathad Gana:vj
Presenter(s): Jorigine Bender Tribe(s): Hualapai
Description: Presenter tells a couple of Hualapai Coyote Stories and share how this is taught to the young Hualapai children and in the community. If time permits, the audience will be encouraged to share their own tribal story.

Title: Piipaash Bingo
Presenter(s): Ron Carlos & Toni Carlyle Tribe(s): Maricopa
Description: Presenters share their experience in using Maricopa Language for community BINGO games. This simple, fun activity has become more popular than what was originally imagined. Play a game with us, maybe win a prize and learn how you can implement this activity within your own community.

Title: Hualapai / Havasupai Basket Making Demonstration
Presenter(s): Jorigine Bender Tribe(s): Hualapai & Havasupai
Description: Presenters demonstrate the art of making a Hualapai / Havasupai baskets. Will share samples of baskets. If time permits, the audience will be encouraged to make a small basket. Audience could share their basketry and materials. Title: Mohave Beaded Capes Presenter(s): Viola Stone & Neva Eddy Tribe(s): Mohave (CRIT) Description: Participants give instruction on the process of beading. Mohave language will be used to introduce colors of beads. Individual instruction will be given.

Title: Mohave Cradleboard Story & Construction
Presenter(s): Louise Patch, Delphina Carter & Ron Carlos Tribe(s): Mohave (CRIT) / Maricopa (Salt River)
Description: Presenters share Mohave Cradleboard Story, and then guide participants through the process of cradleboard construction, with improvised materials. Focus is on the weaving of Mohave bands & Maricopa cradleboard hood.

Title: Hualapai Uses of Native Plants-Utilitarian, Medicinal & Food
Presenter(s): Cheryle Beecher Tribe(s): Hualapai
Description: presented on the utilitarian, medicinal, edible uses of the native plants by the Hualapai Nation. Will share samples of the native plants, teas, harvested plants will be available for tasting, photos, and video tapes are shown. Art objects: cradleboards, sandals, baskets made from plants are on display.

Now, I am sure there are many who feel the former workshops and linguistics are the main thrust of the Pai conference. Learning language through song is the most enduring medium and this modality does not require any knowledge of the base language. Yet to sing the songs is to begin the study of the language. Each time one sings the song it will reinforce the learning. Sing again and again and soon we are at the 'say each word 400 times' basic level to learn the language. Study, in the traditional manner requires a native speaker to explain and clarify what is being sung. But the song will contain all that is necessary to become a part of the person. Shared responses from other lead singers reinforce, that from within the culture, the language in various forms and many dialects was most successfully bridged by the music.

The songs carry the stories. The language is tightly bound with the melody of the songs. Each time the singers bring these immemorial songs to life it establishes the proper receptive environment for the culture to be nourished.
It may seem too extreme to dwell so much on what is admittedly a facet of the rich culture of the Pai speakers. However, the songs continue to endure. Long after the changes in the this or that dialect, the songs continue to endure.
At the core of the Pai speakers the songs still remain. Many in an archaic language that can only be felt and not translated or explained in most modern contexts (Spanish or English).

So, who sang? What was sung? Where did the songs associate with? I am deliberately avoiding the question of where do the songs come from because the songs exist in their own right. Intellectually it serves no purpose to question origins of songs. From the culture experience of singing the songs it is just a half step to the catagory of spirituality. We can better expend our energies: singing the songs, practicing to sing the songs better,or learning more songs. The songs live to be sung. Learning language through song is the most enduring medium. Songs are, for the most part, immutable. To change a word in a song is difficult. Most times it is easier to compose a new song to an old tune than change an existing song. The Tribal language lives in the song and will continue to endure as long as the songs are sung.

After introductions, the floor is opened to all singers & dancers. These were the lead singers for the evening. Each took a turn leading the singing. There were two rows of men and about six rows of women. The dance floor was jam packed!

Larry Hammond - Bird Singer, Ft. Mojave
Dale Phillps - Bird Singer, Cocopah
Vernon Smith - Asha Singer, Quechan
Everisto Adams - Tipai Singer, Kumeyaay
Paul Cuero - Bird Singer, Kumeyaay
Ron Carlos - Bird Singer, Maricopa
Jon Meza Cuero - Nyemi Tipai Singer, Kumeyaay

Friday the 17th in the evening at the Mojave Village. It is chilly but great for dancing!

These are the specific dance groups that performed underneath the ramada: Hualapai Youth Bird Dance Group Jeva "Healing" Dancers - Havasupai Ft. Mojave Youth Dancers Everisto Adams, Kumeyaay - Social Dancing Jon Meza, Kumeyaay - Social Dancing Emmitt "Benny" Bender, Hualapai - Social Dancing Avikwame Bird Siners & Dancers - Ft. Mojave Aa-keel Dancers - Quechan

The Dance Contest begins after all the groups have danced.
There are eight age catagories: 1-4, 5-9, 10-15, 16-20, 21-35, 36-50, 51-65, and "66 up"
The three singers were selected for the contest: Larry Hammond, Vernon Smith and Stan Rodriguez

After the Dance contest there is more singing and a little more social dancing.
Vernon Smith - Asha Singer, Quechan
Larry Hammond - Bird Singer, Ft. Mojave
Ron Carlos - Bird Singer,
Maricopa Preston Arrowweed - Pipa Singer, Quechan

2nd Yuman Language Family Summit round table discussions were on the morning of the last day.

The remaining attendees were asked three general questions:

1. What did you learn at the conference?

2. What needs to happen in your own community to maintain/revitalize your language?

3. What suggestions do you have for making the next summit even more successful?

Each table discussed these questions among themselves and subsequently chose one representative to summarize that discussion and share with the group and next years organizers. This is a fine time to point out the need for some group, organization Tribe, Education facility to host next years summit. Arizona Tribes have demonstrated their commitment to the preservation of the Yuman/Pai language. Maybe one of the California Tribes might want bring this commitment and honor to their area.

Mehan, thank all of you for being so kind for all the phone updates and E messages. Especially those messages from the activities coordinators of the Yuman/Pai conference. These shared interviews do provide me with an insight to focus on the events and presentations relating to the activity. You might ask yourself why do I do this review, simply because I can. Further, wonderful opportunities need to be addressed with the same passion of commitment that we generally associate with relationships, maybe more.

Finally, Larry Washinton, one of the organizers gave a closing speech, focusing on tribal and individual responsibility in regards to langauge maintenance/revitalization. James Uqualla closed the conferance with a beautiful blessing and spiritual encouragement to continue the work for Yuman/Pai Language Survival. Mehan.

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