Heritage Language Programs - Indigenous Languages

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Language Program

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Address: 9615 Grand Ronde Road, Grand Ronde, OR 97347

Contact person: Tony A. Johnson
Cultural Education Coordinator and Acting Cultural Resources Division Manager

Email: tony.johnson@grandronde.org

Telephone: 503-879-2084

Fax: 503-879-1352

Web address: www.grandronde.org


Languages/Dialects taught: Over 25 dialects of multiple languages were associated with the early Grand Ronde reservation. We teach the community language Chinuk Wawa.

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program : Revitalize the community language, Chinuk Wawa, and document all of the languages associated with the early Grand Ronde reservation.

Type of program

Program mission statement : The cultural education program's mission is to preserve and perpetuate the cultural and linguistic heritage of the original tribes of the Grand Ronde community.

Program Origins :The program was founded around 1997 by the Culture and Heritage Board initiative.

Parents' expectations for the program : They share the goal of revitalizing the heritage language. Preschool immersion parents have a contract that requires participation in the program.

Staff's expectations for theprogram: A common effort to revitalize the language


Native Americans: 95%

Preschool, kindergarten and after care are native only programs, funded by the Tribe. Adult classes are open to the community.

Identification of heritage speakers The program identities the heritage speakers, because in this community we generally know everyone associated with this language. In addition, we have conducted minor language surveys within the community.

Percentage of students who complete the program : 95%

Percentage of students who continue to study the heritage language after completing the program : 90% of those with the opportunity

Reasons students don’t continue program : Some students cannot complete the program because the preschool program demands parent attendance, and some parents find they cannot follow this requirement.

Students' attitudes toward the language varieties they speak : Pride. This is one of our purposes, to increase self esteem among community youth.


Number of staff in program : 8 and 1 contractor

Languages in which staff members are proficient : We have developed a Chinuk Wawa language proficiency test. Staff must test above level four of our benchmarks to receive an American Indian Languages Teaching License. Most staff have tested to at least a level 5.

Teacher's certificate : Teachers will test soon and likely all will hold a state American Indian Languages Teaching License.


Professional development opportunities teachers have : Onsite teaching methods, curriculum development and linguistic training through contracts with the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI). They also attend the NILI Summer Program with similar themes.

Professional development opportunities that teachers need: continued, needs vary with individuals

Total student contact hours: preschool 25+ hours per week

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