Who We Are

Local Organizing Committee


Luis Barragan (SRPMIC)

Luis Barragan is the manager of the O’odham Piipaash Language Program for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He is committed towards community based language revitalization and works towards training OPLP staff in all areas related to linguistics, language documentation, pedagogy and technology. He previously worked as Senior Curator (Languages) at the Huhugam Heritage Center for the Gila River Indian Community. He has also taught courses in Linguistics for the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) at the University of Arizona.

Tyler Peterson (Arizona State University)

Tyler Peterson is an assistant professor of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at Arizona State University. His work focuses on the documentation, revitalization, and maintenance of endangered indigenous languages in Arizona, Canada, and Polynesia. His research as a linguist involves the study of how meaning is expressed through language, with a special interest in exploring how everyday technology and contemporary media can be used as a tool for language documentation and engaging community language learners. He works actively with communities in Arizona and the Southwest, collaborating with tribal language programs in helping build their capacities for language revitalization.

Program Coordinator

Samantha Prins (University of Arizona)

Samantha Prins is a PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona. She holds a BA in Linguistics & Spanish from Western Washington University and an MA in Linguistics from the University of Montana. Before coming to Arizona, they served as the program coordinator for CoLang 2020. Their training is in Indigenous language revitalization, North American languages and linguistics, and morphosyntactic theory. Her current work focuses on nominal morphology in Algonquian and the intersections of linguistics and community language work.

Institute Design Advisor

Kelly Washington, Director, Cultural Resources Department (SRPMIC)

Kelly Washington is a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC). His passion and efforts toward language and culture revitalization/maintenance started at a grassroots level and has developed into a lifelong occupation. From 1995 through 2004, he served as materials development specialist, education specialist and curriculum development specialist for the SRPMIC O’odham-Piipaash Language Program. He subsequently served as director of the Huhugam Ki: Museum and now as director of Cultural Resources for the SRPMIC. Having learned linguistics in a self-taught manner, one of his goals is to help bridge the gaps between academia and community-based language revitalization efforts.

American Indian Language Development Institute Liaison and CoLang Institute Design Advisors

Ofelia Zepeda, Director, AILDI (University of Arizona)

Ofelia Zepeda (Tohono O'odham), AILDI director, is a Regents' professor of linguistics and affiliate faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. She teaches Tohono O'odham language courses and survey courses on American Indian languages. Her research areas include language variation, language policy, and issues of endangered languages. She has published numerous articles in these areas. She is also author of The Tohono O'odham Grammar and of two books of poetry, much of it written in the O'odham language.  Dr. Zepeda is also  the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship  for her work on Indigenous languages. She has served on numerous boards and is currently a trustee of the Tohono O'odham Community College. Dr. Zepeda has been involved in AILDI practically since its inception as an instructor and founding co-director. Her breadth of experience in the field of language revitalization continues to guide the institution

Kirsten Goodrow Lopez-Avila, Project Coordinator, AILDI (University of Arizona)

Kirsten Goodrow Lopez-Avila is the AILDI Program Coordinator and Outreach Instructional Specialist. She has worked with the University of Arizona for the last 3 years providing administrative support and coordination to various departments. In her work at AILDI, she has assisted with outreach and projects specializing in American Indian and Indigenous communities, including coordination of the summer institute. She is passionate about public service and has a background in customer service. She obtained her BS in Social Science from the University of Maryland and is currently pursuing her MA in Human Rights Practice at the University of Arizona.

Wilson de Lima Silva, NAMA Director, Department of Linguistics (University of Arizona)

Wilson de Lima Silva is an associate professor of Linguistics, and director of the M.A. program in Native American Languages & Linguistics (NAMA program) in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona. He teaches Descriptive Linguistics for Native American Laguages, Language Maintenance & Revitalization, and Historical Linguistics. He works with Desano community members, in the Amazon region of Brazil and Colombia, with projects related to documentation and language maintenance of the Desano language. His research areas include linguistic description, typology, Indigenous language documentation and description. He has conducted fieldwork on several Amazonian languages. He has been collaborating with AILDI initiatives since 2018, when he joined the Linguistics Department at the University of Arizona.