Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

The Language Conservancy

  • Bloomington, IN
  • http://www.languageconservancy.org

Mission Statement

The Language Conservancy believes that all languages have an inherent right to exist - that they are irreplaceable embodiments of a people’s culture, subtle records of histories and ethical systems specific to their place. All humanity is enriched by awareness of the world’s linguistic heritage.    

Our Mission

We are dedicated to rescuing the world’s endangered languages, restoring them to vital use, and safeguarding them for future generations. The Language Conservancy helps prevent the extinction of languages by 1) raising funds for research, 2) increasing the international public awareness of the social and personal consequences of indigenous language loss, and 3) providing technical support to organizations and communities engaged in revitalizing their languages.

Main Programs

  1. "Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi" Documentary
  2. Curriculum Development
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Primarily United States endangered languages, particularly Native American

also Western Hemisphere

ruling year

2009

Executive Director

Self-reported

Wilhelm Meya

Linguistic Director

Self-reported

Jan Ullrich

Keywords

Self-reported

United States, Indian reservations, South Dakota, arizona, new mexico, minnesota, montana

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Also Known As

The Language Conservancy

EIN

20-3840826

 Number

7974851366

Physical Address

2620 N Walnut St Ste. 810

Bloomington, 47404

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

Management & Technical Assistance (B02)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

There are perhaps only a dozen Native American languages of the original 400-500 that have a chance of surviving beyond the next thirty years – a single generation holds the future of Navaho, Lakota, Ojibway and others in their hands.

The Language Conservancy engages with Tribes across North America to translate endangered languages into a proven, professionally developed second-language curriculum published in textbooks and classroom aids; the Conservancy also assists Tribes and Tribal Colleges with arranging and quickly assuming ownership of teacher-training institutes offering college credit, to provide a common foundation in the most effective recognized second-language teaching methods. These activities have grown quickly over the past year to Level 1 Textbook publication and Institute inauguration for four tribes, with negotiations in progress with three other tribes as of mid-2014. Thus the Conservancy’s impact will reach roughly 3,500 school children among 4 tribes and two states (Montana and North Dakota) by the end of 2014. If our work with other tribes is successful, this impact will double by the end of 2015.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

"Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi" Documentary

Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi is a documentary film that exposes the social consequences of Native American language loss and rescue, focusing on the passion of youth taking creative control of their destinies by speaking their heritage languages. "Hótȟaŋiŋpi" is a Lakota word meaning, "They will have their say." Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi will be accessible to a broad audience through television broadcast and grassroots media sharing online.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

Native Americans/American Indians

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$600,000.00

Program 2

Curriculum Development

Tribes seeking a proven language curriculum and training template for their education departments come to the Language Conservancy for classroom materials and help planning effective teacher training events.

Classroom materials are modeled after the successful textbook/audio CD series initiated by the Lakota Language Consortium, and the very successful Lakota Summer Institute at Sitting Bull College.

Category

American Indian/Native American Studies

Population(s) Served

Native Americans/American Indians

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The Language Conservancy (TLC) achieves its mission by providing urgently needed revitalization services, primarily through technical assistance to Native American tribes seeking to establish or improve their language education programs, including teacher support in second-language education methods. TLC also educates the public on the problem of language loss and the importance of language diversity through its fundraising and public relations work.

    TLC revitalizes Native American languages from each language family by providing a new major source of technical support to Native communities and organizations, while also pursuing a systematic public education among the general population – exposing the nation to this silent crisis. It achieves this by fulfilling its fundraising goals which provide a sustainable source of language revitalization programming support.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    A heightened sense of urgency in our message and a broader public awareness are key to allowing hundreds of languages to survive the coming wave of extinctions. If people know and care about the issue, there is a greater chance that these linguistic and cultural treasures can be saved.

    We take getting the word out on the cultural crisis very seriously and work in numerous ways to reach and inform the public. Some of the ways include:

    Producing a documentary film in cooperation with Florentine Films on young Native American people learning their native languages and experiencing profound personal growth.

    Working with partner organizations in Washington, DC to help encourage support for the work being done to preserve and revitalize Native American languages.

    Helping to distribute news to individuals and institutions about language endangerment and about “best practice” solutions to revitalizing languages.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Staff of the Language Conservancy (TLC) has built extensive experience over the past decade in Native American language revitalization through association with a grassroots, Native-driven, unified movement to teach endangered languages as second languages in tribal, parochial and public schools on the Northern Plains. That movement has developed a textbook series and teacher-training model that are now available exclusively to TLC for its technical assistance program. The Lakota have already benefitted from this curriculum and in 2013 the Crow began its association with TLC for use of the system. In 2014 the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes began their work with TLC, and the Seminole and Ho-Chunk nations have approached TLC for assistance.

    Our documentary film, "Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi," is led by a renowned veteran documentary producer-director, Lawrence R. Hott (Florentine Films/Hott Productions). Hott has a 30-year track record of award-winning programs made for theatrical, educational and public television release. His trusted staff recently wrote a winning proposal for a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for most of the film's production costs. This support boldly validates the film's interest and relevance to a broad public audience. TLC is confident that this film will be completed on schedule and given a full PBS broadcast with a long-term online presence.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    TLC charts its success by the increase of student, proficient and fluent speakers among any tribe that comes to TLC for assistance.

    TLC will also measure success by tribes' increased ability to gain financial and social support for speaking and creating in their languages, as encouraged by the wide distribution of Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    TLC has secured Development and Production funding for the documentary film Rising Voices/ Hótȟaŋiŋpi, from several sources: the Dakota Indian Foundation, Vision Makers Media (formerly Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc.), the Administration for Native Americans (US Dept HHS), and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our second grant from the NEH is large, allowing us to now seek Post-Production and Outreach Campaign support.

    TLC has entered into a partnership with the Crow Nation and the MHA Nation (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes), to develop and establish comprehensive language education and revitalization programs utilizing textbooks, dictionary-building, and teacher training for second-language education methods.

    TLC is in negotiations with the Seminole and Ho-Chunk Nations for similar technical assistance.

    TLC has launched a highly-interactive web site to educate the public about language loss and TLC programs.

    TLC has not yet found major funding sources for its own grants to tribes with language programs. Therefore, technical assistance, the web site, and the documentary film are its current activities.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Primarily United States endangered languages, particularly Native American

also Western Hemisphere

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

R&D, Production, Post-Production, Completion and Publicity funding  for documentary film and web portal project.

Videos

photos


External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE LANGUAGE CONSERVANCY
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

The Language Conservancy

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
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Executive Director

Wilhelm Meya

Linguistic Director

Jan Ullrich

BIO

Chairman and Executive Director of the Language Conservancy, anthropologist, Indiana University; Mr. Meya has worked closely with Teton Lakota on language issues since 1994. He also serves as Executive Director of the Lakota Language Consortium.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Wil Meya

Lakota Language Consortium, The Language Conservancy

Term: Jan 2004 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?