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Smithsonian Museum Endangered Languages Conference

Over half of the world’s languages are endangered. The Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages is working with Native Americans to revitalize their languages before they are gone forever. During a two-week program, participants will connect with libraries, archives and museums to support language learning and teaching. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will host Breath of Life workshops June 9–21, enabling activists from North American indigenous endangered-language communities to partner with linguists to navigate archives, locate and acquire documents, interpret writing systems and transform archival materials into practical lessons for language learning.

The Breath of Life Institute is based on the model developed for California languages in the early 1990s by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. The 2013 Institute, like the one held in Washington, D.C., in 2011, will replicate the Berkeley model.

The 2013 Breath of Life Institute is supported by the National Science Foundation through a grant to the Endangered Language Fund. Partners include the National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of the American Indian, the Library of Congress and Yale University.

For more information about Recovering Voices, visit: