sbuusaɫ sqʷuʔalikʷ dxʷʔal ti dxʷləšucid, the Fourth Annual Lushootseed Language Conference, was held Saturday at Seattle University. Titled “šəqild čeɫ ti dxʷsdigʷid ʔi ti xʷdikʷ” (Honoring the Teachers and the Teachings), the conference had something for everyone: language, culture, community, revitalization, technology and more.
A special highlight of the conference was keynote speaker Virginia Beavert, who included in her talk her personal experiences that involved learning Lushootseed (lut) after running away from her Sahaptin-speaking home. Among her advice was that when approaching an elder to get language information:
- Say up front what you will do with the information
- Give the elder time to consider the request
- Explain the importance of developing teaching materials.
Lushootseed teachers Michelle Myles and Natosha Gobin discussed a literary technique used in Lushootseed storytelling along with a recounting of the history of the story “Lady Louse.” They gave out a wonderful booklet that includes photographs of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Krise, a DVD of “Lady Louse” and flash cards for teaching the story.
John La Pointe discussed ties between Puget Salish culture and Christianity, weaving in his personal background.
Zalmai ʔəswəli Zahir discussed how to create a space from which a language can be revitalized.
Deryle Lonsdale discussed the online Lushootseed Dictionary project. It is expected to be available in a few months.
Dave Sienko noted how despite tremendous processing power, smartphones lack full Unicode implementation and so have trouble with the Lushootseed alphabet. As a workaround, the Puyallup Tribe has released Texting Twulshootseed and other apps, which enables the iPhone to text in Lushootseed.
Russell Hugo discussed Moodle, open-source software for educators, as one way to create a community of language learners.
Lushootseed texts are available from Lushootseed Research. Although not currently listed, there are CDs also available.