Maya'loyon: Creating a Space for Indigenous and Cultural Teachers


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MA in Cultural Sustainability

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This project, Maya’loyon, consists of a website designed for Indigenous Languages and Cultural Teachers, nationally and internationally. (The site will go live on July 5, 2019) Its goal is to support Indigenous teachers by featuring sample lesson plans, teaching techniques, a teacher wellness area, blogs, advice, and information about advocacy. It is also designed to support those communities which want to continue as a people, recover some of what has been lost (for example, native speakers of our languages), transform from a deficit model to a growth in speakers (language use is declining vs. creating new speakers of a living language), and determine our own ways forward (rather than relying on linguists to teach us, we chose to become teachers ourselves and take responsibility on continuing our language and culture). The project's methodology included research into existing literature and websites, interviews with leading culture and language teachers engaged in innovative work, and surveys of Indigenous and culture teachers. Indigenous language and culture teachers are often disconnected from colleagues from other nations. Maya’loyon will serve to connect language and culture teachers across space and, through the creation of an archive of teaching materials, across time. This connection will transform the work designed to sustain language and culture. Its' purpose is also to facilitate the transformation from dependence on Western academic linguists and language instruction practices to Indigenous practices developed for ourselves. In terms of action, Maya’loyon hopes to mobilize greater numbers of language and culture teachers, offering support so they may continue to expand the critically important effort that is revitalizing and reawakening our languages and cultural traditions.