• Oig Tt O Mai G Et-Ñeo’okĭ: An Introduction to the O’odham Language of Ak-Chin

      Zepeda, Ofelia; Johns, Jeremy; Warner, Natasha; Harley, Heidi; de Lima Silva, Wilson (The University of Arizona., 2019)
      The Ak-Chin Indian Community has been facing a steady decline in the population of O’odham speakers over the past four decades that presents the community with a troubling dilemma; if nothing is or can be done to reverse this trend, the O’odham language faces whole scale replacement by English in all facets of society as the working communicative language of the community. The present work has been designed to add to an Ak-Chin O’odham dialect specific repertoire of learner centered language teaching materials to encourage a re- flourishment of O’odham as an everyday vernacular means of communication between members of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. The lessons presented in this document aim at streamlining the language acquisition process among adult heritage learners in such a way that pertinent language structures, vocabulary and grammatical information are provided without the use of technical or esoteric linguistic jargon that can sometimes overwhelm and alienate learners from instructional content. Learners are taken from the most basic and rudimental aspects of O’odham sentence structure and progress through the lessons in a scaffolded way to continuously build upon previously acquired linguistic skills. The lessons are supplemented by frequent practice exercises, an O’odham-English/English-O’odham glossary, quick reference grammar tables and explanations, as well as answer keys to each practice exercise. This work has been structured to be used either as a classroom teaching material or as an autodidactic resource for heritage learners. It is hoped that the work presented here will contribute in a positive way to the emergence of more O’odham speakers in the Ak-Chin community.
    • Reconnection to Gila River Akimel O'odham History and Culture Through Development of a User-Friendly O'odham Writing Method

      Zepeda, Ofelia; Johns, Duncan Eric; Rinding In, James; Willie, May (The University of Arizona., 2012)
      At one time before European contact Indigenous groups flourished on the American continent and maintained their ideas of conveying knowledge, history, and beliefs through the oral tradition. It is widely concluded that hundreds of Native languages were spoken to convey the aspects related above, which were unique and specific to each individual tribe. With the colonization of the American continent by European peoples, came the beginning of the end of the Indian way of life. Because of this reality and circumstances that were yet to be endured by Indigenous groups, the destruction of many Native languages also occurred over time. Presently, only a few hundred Indigenous languages have survived. In the effort at preserving some of the remaining Indigenous languages, writing systems which often have a foundation in non-Native higher academia have been developed for some; O'odham being one. This paper examines developing a more grassroots O'odham writing system.