- "We're to always teach our children, so they will know our Indian
minwa na sapskiwata naami miyanishma
shugwata naami tananawit."
program opens with this song and images of children in regalia projected
onto a screen. Children point at their images and giggle as they
snack on pizza and cake. Few are aware they created a tool for future
generations to learn the Imatalam (Umatilla) language, one spoken
by only about 17 people.
of the original 12 elementary school campers of the Flash Story
Camp were honored during a reception Friday at the Tamastslikt Cultural
Institute. The campers devoted three hours a day, Monday through
Thursday this summer to learning their language.
Flash software, they also produced "Coyote Chef," a program
with language games and each camper's rendition of the story of
``Spilyay Kuukithla,' as told to them by instructor Thomas Morning
Owl. Spilyay (Coyote) tricks the Squirrel people into cooking themselves
for his meal.
is an interactive multimedia program campers used to mix animation
program was made possible through a $20,000 grant from First Nations
Development in collaboration with Tamastslikt's Language Enhancement
Program and Education Department, and the Confederated Tribes of
the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Flash Story Camp was modeled after the elementary school language
program by the Tulalip tribe in Marysville, Wash. Students there
used technology to learn the Lushootseed language from instructor
David Cort. Prior to Tamastslikt's camp, Cort conducted a one-week
Flash training for instructors.
of this age are capable of picking up a second language very readily,"
Cort said in a news release. "It's their nature to understand technology
in a heartbeat."
Quaempts, language coordinator for Tamastslikt and one of the camp
instructors, said most of the students had never really been exposed
to their native language. She estimated 50 people still speak the
three languages of the Confederated Tribes: Imatalam (Umatilla),
Walla Walla and Nez Perce, spoken by Cayuse native speakers.
instructor Tessie Williams said the CDs will be distributed to area
tribal governments and schools.