After pandemic hiatus, Native American language survival workshop returns to campus

May 20, 2022

This Sunday, May 22, marks the in-person return of Breath of Life to the Berkeley campus. Now in its 27th year, it was last held at Berkeley in 2018. It moved online in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Running through May 28, the event is sponsored by Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS) and Berkeley’s linguistics department. More than 90 people are expected to attend, including Geary, who is an AICLS board member and chair of the Santa Clara Tamien Nation.

Berkeley linguistics Professor Emerita Leanne Hinton, who co-founded AICLS in 1992 and Breath of Life three years later, looks forward to meeting members of the Indigenous language revitalization community face to face after a four-year hiatus.

“While AICLS and campus archivists did what they could to bring people together with their languages virtually during those first COVID years, we are so looking forward to getting together again in person for the first time since 2018,” Hinton said.

The Native languages represented at the conference will include Chemehuevi, Central Sierra Miwok, Chochenyo, Concow Maidu, Eastern Pomo, Karuk, Lake Miwok, Northern Miwok, Mutsun, Nisenan, Nomlaki, Northern Paiute, Northern Pomo, Patwin, Pacific Coast Athabaskan, Ramaytush, Rumsen, Southern Sierra Miwok, Tachi, Tamien, Tiłhini, Tongva, Washoe and Western Mono.

Their survival is remarkable, given California’s colonial history.

Read the full story at Berkeley News.

Berkeley News