On February 9th, 10th, and 11th, Evan Gardner, April Charlo (Salish), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk), Paul Cason (Maidu) and his son Marlon traveled to the University of Arizona in Tucson for a workshop hosted by AILDI, the American Indian Language Development Institute.  It was a fantastic experience and we are thankful for everyone that came and participated and everyone that had a hand in bringing us there.

The first night, Evan gave a two and a half hour presentation/workshop to the participants in U of A’s SEED program, which hosts indigenous language speakers from Mexico for a year long stay to learn language revitalization methodologies.  Their English was very limited, so Evan gave the entire presentation in Spanish.  Sky sat in on the lotus and taught some chinuk wawa as an example of how WAYK could be applied to any language.  After the lotus, we did a language hunt with two Maya speakers.  It was a great experience and very interesting for Sky to run a WAYK bucket without having a common shared language.

The next two days of the workshop, we were in the San Xavier Education Building on the  Tohono O’odham San Xavier Reservation.  Which, as Evan put it, was one of the best rooms he’s ever done a WAYK workshop in.  The room was large, and everyone working there were so nice and friendly and helpful.

Over the next two days, we worked with between twenty and thirty participants representing a wide range of tribes and nations.  The first day was focused on showing the techniques and the game through buckets and various other WAYK games and debriefs.

Mad Science! language learners meet language teachers

The second day, we got the opportunity for a little Mad Science and broke the room into two groups: the fluent speakers, and the language learners.  With these two group we took each aside and explained to the speakers how to craft rides, and how hunt language to the learners.  Then we brought everyone back together and paired each speaker with a learner and got to see how far they were able to go in each language.  One of the main reasons for trying this experiment was that we wanted each of these speakers to be able to have the first ride packaged in their language to be able to take home with them, and another was to get practical experience applying WAYK to their language.

It was a great workshop, we got to work with a lot of wonderful people and got a lot of good feedback about what we can do to make this system stronger.  Once again, we want to thank everyone that came and everyone that got us there and took care of us while we were there and made us feel welcome.

Marlon, Paul, April, Evan, and Sky

Here are some links to the AILDI Facebook page with videos and more pictures of the workshop:



One last thing, everyone that came to the workshop and who reads this blog and hasn’t done so yet, please post your location on the google map on the right side of the screen.  We’d love to see where everyone who is playing this game is on the world map.

Written by Evan Gardner