Indigenous Living Languages at Dartmouth is a project of the Native American/Indigenous community at Dartmouth College. Located in the quiet northeastern woods of New Hampshire, Dartmouth College is one of the nation’s premier higher education institutions and top teaching College’s in the Ivy League. However, Dartmouth is also nestled within Abenaki homelands, a region of Turtle Island known as the “Dawnland.”
While Dartmouth reflects mainstream western educational values, the Native American/Indigenous community at Dartmouth has over the past several decades forged a unique status. Within the Native Americans at Dartmouth community, comprised of students, faculty, staff and administrators, Indigenous people at Dartmouth have established themselves as Indigenous scholars who are also Indigenous community stakeholders. With this vision in mind, the Native American Program under the Office of Pluralism & Leadership, in partnership with the student group, Native Americans at Dartmouth, has created a student-centered initiative focused on one of the top priorities and challenges for Indigenous people today–Native languages.
Indigenous Living Languages at Dartmouth has been initiated in the 2008-2009 academic year in what we hope will be a sustainable effort housed under the Native American Program and Native Americans at Dartmouth but with broad-reaching impact and collaboration within Dartmouth and beyond. Indigenous Living Languages is currently comprised of a core group of young scholars engaged in Native language work in many capacities. Some of us seek fellowship as language learners for the process of reclaiming our Native languages, while others yet seek to reaffirm their own grasp and practice in fluency or semi-fluency in Native language. Others among us seek scholarly fellowship as emerging linguists, while others are engaged in Indigenous nation-building work that necesssarily involves Native language and cultural development. There are those of us interested in language policy, national political agendas and globalization. Most of us have a stake in multiple issues, and all of us share concern, passion, intellectual rigor and responsibility for each other and our respective homelands and languages.