Plenary Address Information

Opening Keynote Speaker

Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla (University of British Columbia)

Enacting Relational Accountability to Indigenous Languages and their Peoples, Communities, and Lifeways

Thursday, March 4, 8:30-9:45 am Hawaii time

Acknowledging that extractive and non-relational language work have occurred and continue, it is imperative to understand that language is more than a system of communication that can be dissected. Language is culture – an embodiment of past histories, current realities, and imagined futures that is not void of people, land, and ancestral wisdom. Throughout the world, Indigenous communities are reasserting their sovereignty, self-determination, and inherent rights to protect their knowledges and languages from further desecration, misuse, exploitation, commodification, and self-promotional gain by academia (e.g., academic publications and recognition, promotion and tenure). When invited into community, it is necessary to approach our invitation with humility, to be fully cognizant of the privilege that allows us, as academics and researchers, to enter a foreign domain of learning. What may seem an insignificant invitation is in fact a relational response that trusts that our actions and engagement with language will be held to the highest standard – a standard that respects the community in which the language resides, along with the knowledges and wisdom, which we, as academics, may in/directly gain. This relational awareness and thinking extends outward from the language to the speaker, community, lifeways, lands, and beings that are present (e.g., mountains, rivers, ocean, animals, rocks). Although this may be unsettling, recognizing and nurturing relationships – connections to the human and the more-than-human – hold us accountable and responsible to all who are present in the work we do. By transforming our practice, we enact relational accountability that provides a pathway for genuine, deep-rooted, and honored relationships that are reciprocated through our ways of knowing, being, and doing.

Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla (Kanaka Hawaiʻi & Filipino) is an Associate Professor in the department of Language and Literacy Education (Faculty of Education) and the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies (Faculty of Arts) at the University of British Columbia on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking Musqueam people. Her scholarship emphasizes Hawaiian language and Indigenous languages at the intersection of education, revitalization, digital technology, and cultural practices; and decolonizing and Indigenizing the academy to create pathways for Indigenous thinkers and scholars. She received her MA in Native American Linguistics and a PhD in Language, Reading and Culture with a specialization in Indigenous language education, revitalization, and multimedia technology from the University of Arizona. While there, she served as the Program Coordinator of the American Indian Language Development Institute. Upon graduation, she returned back home to Hawaiʻi Island to teach in Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi in Hilo.

Closing Keynote Speaker

Wesley Y. Leonard (University of California, Riverside)

Language Reclamation Through Relational Language Work

Sunday, March 7, 1:45-3:00 pm Hawaii time

Through the broad and explicitly decolonial approach to reversing language shift that I call language reclamation, language documentation and conservation work is engaged with and responsive to community needs and ways of knowing at all stages. With its focus on identifying and addressing the ruptures and power structures that underlie community language shift, language reclamation promotes community wellness and regenerative futures. In this talk, I draw upon my lived experiences as a Miami linguist and myaamia language learner to consider how language documentation and conservation work, when situated within a frame of reclamation, calls for recognizing, drawing from, and building relationships while also privileging additional R-word concepts that ensue from a relational lens, such as respect, responsibility, rights, and reciprocity. Focusing on recurring themes explored and debated at ICLDC, I imagine a future of Indigenous language work where a relational reclamation approach is the norm, and offer thoughts on how this can be brought about.

Wesley Y. Leonard is an associate professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Drawing from his training in linguistics and experience in community language programs, he researches Native American language reclamation and strives to build capacity for Native American language communities in ways that support tribal sovereignty, promote wellness, and advance decolonization. A citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, a special focus of his scholarship has been his nation’s formerly sleeping language, myaamia, which was brought back into the community use from historical documentation. A collaborative project that he co-chairs, Natives4Linguistics, promotes Indigenous needs and intellectual tools as ways of doing linguistic science.