About CoLang 2024

Our Theme

The Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang), will be jointly held June 2024 at Arizona State University (ASU) and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), one of several federally recognized tribes in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area. CoLang takes place every two years, bringing together the world’s leading academics, community scholars, and indigenous language activists in order to provide leading-edge training in language documentation, revitalization, and collaborative practices. ASU is situated on the ancestral homelands of the Akimel O’odham and Piipaash, the two Native American societies and languages that comprise the SRPMIC community. As such, the theme for CoLang 2024 is “Creating Partnerships, Honoring Neighbors, Building Capacity”. CoLang 2024 is a significant step in the evolution of CoLang, as it will be the first co-equal partnership, from day one, between a university and tribal organization in the conceiving, planning, funding, and hosting of this world class institute.

Our theme also represents a step in the evolution of social science, where educators and indigenous scholars meet, learn, and do research in a setting that was shaped by the collaborative vision of an institution of higher learning and a tribal-run language program, one that is facing many of the familiar challenges that Native American communities in the United States and indigenous communities around the world face in reclaiming their languages. An important aspiration of CoLang 2024 is to serve as a model for how such a co-equal enterprise can lead to a productive and sustainable partnership between neighbors, and how major American research universities such as ASU can honor and serve their tribal neighbors in a meaningful way.

In addition to the many workshop offerings that have come to define CoLang Institutes, CoLang 2024 will emphasize four areas that not only highlight our local expertise but also explore exciting developments in language documentation, maintenance, and reclamation: 

Inclusivity

CoLang responds to the needs of a diverse group of participants: academic linguists who want to gain the technical skills, linguistics students who need basic training in collaborative research in language documentation, language teachers who wish to train themselves in basic linguistics skills, and community language activists who work on maintenance and revitalization projects for their communities. The Institute consists of two weeks of intensive workshops on a broad range of topics in linguistics, language documentation and revitalization, education, and technology, with an emphasis on community-based participatory research. This is followed by two weeks of in-depth practica, where the participants apply their newly acquired skills, and develop focused research projects working with speakers of Akimel O’odham, Piipaash, and Cook Islands Māori. For many CoLang is the only opportunity to gain these experiences and receive this kind of specialized training. 

Impact

CoLang has a significant track record of national and international success; previous participants have incorporated their Institute experiences into successful documentation projects and community revitalization activities worldwide. The institute is uniquely effective in building capacity, skills, and methods that result in career advancement, outputs, projects, and generating new linguistic methodologies and research. These include numerous grants, graduate theses and dissertations, books, academic articles, language archives and databases, project development and cross-community networking methodologies. Linguists and academics who complete CoLang come away with a deeper sense of the importance of community-based language work, which better prepares them for the future direction of language documentation. Language activists who complete CoLang are equipped with the real world skills that help them make meaningful, productive, and sustainable contributions to the language reclamation efforts of their communities. 

We hope you're able to join us in the special learning experience!

-Tyler Peterson and Luis Barragan (Co-Directors), on behalf of the Local Organizing Committee