Heritage Language Programs - Indigenous Languages


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Address: 2730 Lateral B Road
Wapato, WA 98951

Languages/Dialects taught: Yakama (IchChishKiin)

• PreK-K
• 1-5/6
• 6/7-8
• 9-12
• Adults

HollyAnna Pinkham / Instructor

Telephone: (509) 865-5121 x4274

Fax: (509) 865-4637

Purposes and goals of the program: Instruction is focused on practical usage / learning of the language, pronunciation, and conversation. The language has an oral tradition so we do not teach the "written" language taught by other groups.

Type of program: Extracurricular club.
Brief explanation: Lunch time "brown bagger" class, after work and some weekends. I was teaching the class to co-workers and we decided we should have an official class. The program was founded in 2002. Our lunch time class had outgrown our office so, we had to move to a bigger space.

Parents' expectations for the program: Most of them are learning with their children. Someday they want to be able to carry on a conversation with their children.

Staff expectations for the program: I would like to eventually have another person to help me teach. My dream is that at least half of my class become instructors.

Additional Comments: My language class on nights and weekends also covers instruction in tradition and culture, including how to make a wing dress, baby boards, bead working and plant identification and usage. The language just helps tie it all together.


Native Americans: 98%
Two non-native students, both employees of the tribe.
Total student enrollment: 50

The program does not identify who is a heritage speaker; the students picked me as instructor.

Some reasons for not completing the program are:
• Youth have a hard time with transportation or school activities
• Adults are usually chasing their children’s schedules.
• Students come and go and sometimes return.

Students' attitudes toward the language varieties they speak: We have different dialects which makes learning the language difficult.

Staff and Instructors

• Number of staff in program: 1
• Languages in which the staff members are proficient: Nez Perce, Sahaptin, Yakama.

Teacher's certificate or license: none


• Total student contact hours: 5 per week.
• Times per week: 1 hour, twice a week, during lunch time.
• Some students only show up at the lunch time classes (1 hour twice a week). Others show up at evening (1 hour three times a week)

English skills: listening, speaking
Heritage skills: speaking

Levels of language proficiency students reach by the end of the program: There is no beginning or ending level for this program.
Culture topics taught: geography, history, festivals, customs, traditions/beliefs, religion, folktales, arts and crafts, dances, songs, rhymes, social and cultural norms, cultural appropriateness

Other culture-related topics or activities: gathering of foods, plants, family, women’s language, and men’s language

Textbook used: none

Financial support: no financial support

Additional comments: My friends, family, and co-workers want to learn. I volunteer my time for those who want to learn.

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