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Title: Making language documentation work for the community: Some indigenous priorities and perspectives 
Author: Takayuki, Okazaki; Kumar Mishra Mahendra; Kepa, Mere; Manu'atu, Linita; Tolenoa, Alister; David A. Hough
Date: 2009-03-14
Description: It is necessary that linguists and others involved in the documentation of indigenous and minority languages listen to the voices of the communities they wish to serve. This one-hour panel session brings together experts from Asia and the Pacific who will report on community perspectives as they apply to indigenous and minority language protection and promotion. Particular emphasis will be placed on what such communities have to say regarding the applicability of linguistic documentation within the context of educational initiatives, either as part of language/culture revitalization projects, or as part of mother tongue medium of instruction, bilingual or multilingual/multicultural education programs.

The panelists, who for the most part are indigenous themselves, have been both activists and leaders on issues of language policy, planning and implementation in their respective regions. Their work covers a wide geographical span including Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia; Maori, Tongan and Pasifika communities in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the South Pacific; and among Udeghe and Nanai communities in Far East Russia. Their reports will focus on what these communities have to say about some of the following key issues:

1. The extent to which indigenous and minority language communities – even highly endangered ones – have traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and related skills to tell their stories and develop educational materials which will protect and promote their languages and cultures.
2. The degree to which much linguistic documentation involves "outside experts" collecting data from "native informants" and how this may create an elitist dichotomy, which serves to marginalize indigenous communities, and further exacerbate what has been referred to as a "glass barrier" in academia.
3. How well linguistic documentation is linked to application and why in some cases data never gets back to the community – or never gets back in usable form.
4. How to ensure that funding procedures and decisions regarding research methodologies are placed in the hands of the community and based on indigenous models of communication and epistemologies, rather than on research models and technical categories imposed from the outside. (This is in keeping with the 2007 United Nations Resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
5. The necessity of linking all work within indigenous communities to a critical understanding of the processes of globalization and how these relate to the killing of biological, cultural and linguistic diversity.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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