Welcome to the Official Blog for the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages!

Welcome to the Official Blog for the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages!

National Breath of Life (BoL) has been honored to work with so many people involved in language research over the years and we are excited to share ongoing developments through our new blog. Other social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, will become secondary forms of communication and only be used as needed.

A significant area of development has been with our training modules referred to as the National Breath of Life Native American Philology model

Through a series of three developing training modules, we offer community members and stakeholders a training pathway fostering the skills necessary for carrying out the long-term process of archive-based research for revitalization. 

A number of greetings wrote on a whiteboard in over 10 Native American languages
Greetings written in a variety of Indigenous languages during a National Breath of Life Conference in 2019.
Photo by Johnathan Fox, Myaamia Center

Using traditional basket weaving as an analogy, the phases include (1) Gathering: locating archival materials, evaluating archival content, and ascertaining archival value; (2) Processing: developing a digital archive, analyzing data, and creating a digital dictionary; and (3) Weaving: increasing content capacity, refining data management, and integrating these growing resources into community education.

At the heart of our archival training is the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive software suite, known simply as ILDA. The initial design of ILDA was born from the work carried out by the Myaamia Center to revitalize the Myaamia Language. No software existed that allowed for the organization, storage, retrieval, and analysis of digital surrogates of archival linguistic materials and associated data for the purposes of informing Myaamia revitalization efforts.

ILDA has significantly impacted the Myaamia effort and is now available through National BoL for other communities engaged in archive-based work. The ILDA software suite is copyrighted by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and will be maintained in perpetuity by the technical staff of the Myaamia Center. The Myaamia Center is a tribally directed research and educational development unit supported by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma to ensure its language continues to serve the community.

Two women sit across a table from another person who points something out on a document to them.
National BoL participants examine archival materials at a training session in Washington D.C. in 2015.
Photo by Karen Baldwin, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

And finally, our newest initiative is the National BoL Apprenticeship Program currently funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Mellon Foundation. The apprenticeship program is open as funding is available. The program is currently full, with apprentices from 10 tribal communities across the U.S. Please watch the blog for apprentice profiles and the exciting archival work they are all engaged in.

The staff at National BoL recognizes that each community is different and has varying language needs and goals. We meet these unique needs through individualized training and support. If you have questions about how National BoL’s offerings could support your community’s efforts please contact us at nationalbol@miamioh.edu

Two women stand in front of a whiteboard with covered in Native American greetings. They look at each and laugh.
Gabriella Perez Baez, National Breath of Life co-director, and Kara Stass from the Myaamia Center at a workshop at Miami University in 2019. Photo by Karen Baldwin, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

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