Indigenous Language Institute

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Indigenous Language Institute
The Indigenous Language Institute Logo
Contact Information
Address 1501 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505
Phone Number (505) 820–0311
Total Number 3
Executive Directer Inée Slaughter
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The Indigenous Language Institute (ILI) is an organization based in Santa Fe, NM that seeks to preserve endangered native languages throughout the world and works with all tribes and nations to complement and enhance their existing language programs [1].The guiding philosophy of the organization is to "help create speakers" of endangered indigenous languages while we still have speakers left. The ILI aids in native language preservation by researching, teaching, and sharing information and tools to make these languages seen and heard everywhere and by everyone. The ILI also works to help indigenous people create their own Native language materials for educational and promotional purposes[1]. The ILI facilities is located on the premises of the Santa Fe Indian School.



The Indigenous Language Institute provides vital language related services to Native communities so that their individual identities, traditional wisdom and values are passed on to future generations in their original languages[1].


The Indigenous Language Institute was formed in 1992 as the Institute for the Preservation of the Original Languages of the Americas (IPOLA). In 2000, the IPOLA was changed to the Indigenous Language Institute (ILI) and today, the ILI serves American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, First Nations of Canada, and is reaching out to the international indigenous community.[1].

Internal Structure

The ILI has a Board of Directors whose members are majority Native American. The organization also has a Technical Advisory Committee, a Language Advisory Council, and a staff of full-time employees[1].

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors at the ILI consists of mostly Native American members who have experience in language work at various levels. There are currently ten active members of the board and three honorary members. Currently, the four main officers of the Board are as follows:
President - Gerald L. Hill
Vice President - Joel Frank
Treasurer - Robert Craig
Secretary - Maura Dhu Studie
The entire board can be viewed here.

Technical Advisory Committee

The Technical Advisory Committee assists Board and staff with all technological means of supporting language revitalization for indigenous communities. Currently, there are seven members of the committee.

Language Advisory Council

The Language Advisory Council assists the Board of Directors and staff with programmatic, administrative, and fiscal matters. The council currently consists of six members including the nobel prize-winning physicist, Murray Gell-Mann.


The staff at the ILI consists of three main positions: Executive Director (Inée Yang Slaughter), Executive Assistant to the Executive Director (Laura Benavidez), and Program Manager of Research and Development (Chris Harvey).

Activities and Programs

The ILI hosts several workshops and has hosted a large symposium in 2011 as well as a Native American Terminology Development conference in 2010 as part of their Indigenous Language Institute Symposium Series[1].


Workshops Workshops available from the ILI currently fall under two categories: Create Native Language Print Materials and Create A Native Language Digital Story. Previous IBM has sponsored regional workshops that travelled to various Indian communities nationwide. Workshops are offered that help teachers and administrators of language programs effectively implement language immersion programs. Anyone interested in native language preservation can sign up to participate in these workshops via an email to Laura Benavidez.


ILI Training Session
ILI Training Session at the Oneida Learning Center in Green Bay, WI.

Within the ILI main facility, there is its Technology Learning Center (TLC). The TLC offers multi-media studio tools and training to all Native communities and individuals interested in developing materials and projects for Native language instruction and preservation. The TLC is where the ILI offers Technology Training Workshops to expand the number of technology-skilled teachers and practitioners.


The ILI has a vast compilation of materials useful for language preservation. The organization utilizes software programs, internal and external downloadable publications, and a repository of audio, video, and print materials[1].

Recording Instruments and Equipment

The ILI houses numerous recordings of American Indians speaking in their indigenous languages for archiving and preservation purposes. The ILI trains Native peoples to use specialized recording equipment. This equipment consists of a high quality microphone that hooks up to a computer or another digital voice recorder. These recordings are sometimes created by participants at ILI workshops such as the Digital Storytelling Workshop. Other recordings are created through more private interviews with indigenous speakers. The ILI has also been utilizing newer technology to collect voice recordings through the use of high definition flip video cameras. These cameras are more portable than the organization's other recording equipment and also provide video.

Languagegeek keyboard with Nimiipuutimt characters.
An example of a Languagegeek keyboard.

Languagegeek Keyboard

The ILI has partnered with Languagegeek to create virtual keyboards that aid in creating written documentation of endangered native languages. These virtual keyboards replace unused letters from the Latin alphabet with characters from native languages. There are over 170 different keyboards that are available for download.


In 2009, the ILI received the National Verizon Tech Savvy Award for their work on the education of families, students, and teachers on how to use technology to develop print and audio books to teach Native American languages at school and home. This award goes to "five nonprofit programs recognized for innovative efforts to help parents understand the technology used by their children". The news release for the ILI's award can be found here.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Official Home Page of the Indigenous Language Institute

External Links

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