SIL International Media Release

SIL speakers at language policy symposium

(April 2009) Four SIL consultants are presenting case studies in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, at the International Indigenous Language Policy Research Symposium. One study outlines a university-level language development curriculum in Peru, and the other outlines a community-level program among the Waodani (or Waorani) of Ecuador.

The symposium, held 23–24 April, aims to make research about the effects of policy development available to Indigenous leaders, educators and policy makers. This event is a first for the University of New Mexico's (UNM) American Indian Language Policy Research and Teacher Training Center. Dr. Christine P. Sims, the organizer of the event, is a Native American from the Acoma Pueblo.

SIL papers

Language policy has a long-term impact on Indigenous language loss or maintenance. Advocates of Indigenous language survival need to understand more fully what these impacts are and what needs to be done to address these issues.

"The future survival of remaining Indigenous languages across the Americas has become an increasing area of concern among Indigenous groups engaged in emerging community-based and school-based language initiatives," said Dr. Sims. "As these efforts have emerged, a major source of conflict has been the impact that social, economic, political and education policies have had on these languages. This symposium will raise awareness to impacts, and will address issues of Indigenous language survival."

Dr. Christine Sims is a graduate of a former SIL training course for Native Americans. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the UNM College of Education, Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies and Department of Linguistics. In 2007, she was the discussant for an SIL-organized special session on multilingual education at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

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