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Voices in your pocket

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S: Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center Voices in Your Pocket 2009

BC: THANK YOU ACTA!!!! | Back Row: Don Jack, Lawona Jasso, Angelina Moreno, Cecelia Moreno, Jennifer Malone, Sandy Clark, Marie Wilcox, Darlene Oliver, Greg Ignacio, Carmen Moreno Front Row: Joy Girado, Loreen Park, Julie Turner, Dehlia Moreno

FC: Kawaiisu Language & Cultural Center Voices in Your Pocket 2009 | Don Jack, Julie Turner, Luther Girado, David Turner, Sandy Clark, Loreen Park, Lawona Jasso, Greg Ignacio, & Diane Spieth

1: This project has been made possible in part by a grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, in partnership with the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and ZeroDivide.

2: “Voices in Your Pocket” was a collaborative project between Laura Grant and Julie Turner of the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center, a California Indian non-profit based in Bakersfield whose mission is to restore the Kawaiisu indigenous language and cultural practices in Kern County. They extend their mission to indigenous people in neighboring counties as well. The Center served as fiscal sponsor for “Voices in Your Pocket.” The project period was February 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010. | This is the usual picture of us working. | Julie Turner | Laura Grant

3: Here are the project's four objectives, a through d. A. Tachi and Mono Native American groups will learn to record audio CDs and digital video, and to transfer recordings to iPods to create portable libraries for wider distribution and increased study opportunities. They will create media that represents living cultures which will update their own, and the public's perception, of Native Americans. The Tachi team included Elder Lawona Jasso, her son Greg Ignacio and daughter Carmen Moreno, Rudy Moreno, Carmen's husband, and their three daughters, Cecilia, Dehlia, and Angelina Moreno. The Mono team included Elder Don Jack and his daughter Darlene Oliver.We later included Luther Girado and his granddaughter, Loreen Park, both Kawaiisu. Tachi and Mono are indigenous to Fresno County. Kawaiisu are indigenous to Kern County.

4: Lawona Jasso is a fluent speaker of her Tachi language. She has been working with her family torevitalize their language for the past four years. Her son Greg Ignacio and daughter Carmen Moreno, Rudy Moreno Carmen’s husband, and their three daughters, Cecilia, Dehlia, Angelina Moreno, and the newest addition to the Moreno family, baby Rudy, are all dedicated students. Lawona is a master speaker in the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival Master Apprentice Language Learning Program. Greg and Carmen have successfully completed the program and now Lawona’s oldest granddaughter, Cecelia, is her new student. As a family they have participated in many local Native American events, and shared their culture and language at the school where Lawona's granddaughters attend . Lawona and Greg teach a weekly class in Lemoore to a group of Tachi tribal members. The whole family are wonderful basketweavers, going out with Wukchumni cousins and friends to gather the basket weaving materials.

5: TACHI | Lawona Jasso | Greg Ignacio | Carmen Moreno | Rudy Moreno | Angelina | Delia | Cecelia | Baby Rudy

6: Well, what can I say about Luther Girado other than he’s a great dad and grandpa!! I am a little biased, but that’s okay, everyone understands. He is a fluent speaker of our Kawaiisu language, one of four remaining speakers and the only male speaker. Dad has been involved in all of our projects for the past seven years. Without his dedication, we wouldn’t have come as far as we have. He started out teaching language class once a month to anyone who was interested, then teaching with his youngest sister Lucille Hicks one day a week for about two years. Students ranged from beginners to advanced. Luther's three granddaughters are all language students. His oldest granddaughter, Loreen Park, is his third apprentice in the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival Master Apprentice Program. Luther is very active in the communities in and around his home of Walker Basin. He is always in attendance at our general tribal members meeting, giving prayers at funerals and community events, playing lead guitar with his band “The Over the Hill Gang” and sharing his extensive knowledge of our traditional skills.

7: KAWAIISU | Loreen Park | Luther Girado

8: Don Jack is a fluent Mono speaker who has been teaching language classes in and around the Fresno area for about seven years. Currently he is a master speaker in the Advocates Master Apprentice Program. His daughter Darlene Oliver is his first apprentice and she is doing a great job. Darlene is also assisting Don with his weekly language classes. Don was born in Clovis then raised in Dunlap and Trimmer Springs by the Kings River. Don was taught the traditional skills by his grandmother and great grandmother, both ladies on his mother's side. He enjoys teaching traditional skills, herbs, milkweed cordage, medicine plants and edible plants. I asked him why he teaches. “Because it's part of who we all are, and there isn't anyone else doing these traditional skills”

9: MONO | DARLENE OLIVER & DON JACK

10: Here are the training opportunities we provided. We had leveraged resources from several other grants and organizations in addition to the funds from ACTA. Workshop 1 February 8 , Bakersfield - training on Marantz for the Tachi team. March 29 - Tachi field day in Orosi with training on Marantz to record traditional Tachi songs. Workshop 2 June 7 , Bakersfield, training on Marantz for all teams. For the Kawaiisu team, it was Loreen’s first exposure to the recorder. July 6 - Kawaiisu site visit, Walker Basin, for additional training on Marantz recorder July 21 and 22 - Mono site visit, Coarsegold, for additional training on Marantz recorder Workshop 3 August 13 & 14 - Northfork, training for video cameras for all teams. The traditional skill highlighted was making soaproot brushes. Workshop 4 October 24 & 25 - Northfork, All teams learned about digital videotaping and loading files to iPods. The traditional skill highlighted was making acorn mush.

11: Workshop 1 February 8 Bakersfield - training on Marantz CD recorder for the Tachi team

12: Workshop 1 March 29 Tachi field day in Orosi with training on Marantz to record traditional Tachi songs

14: Workshop 2 June 7 Bakersfield, training on Marantz for all teams. For the Kawaiisu team, it was Loreen’s first exposure to the recorder

18: Now all teams are proficient in recording audio CDs with their Marantz recorders. They all have their own audio equipment sets that they can use at any time and we have found that they do. In August 2009 we began to train the teams on using video cameras and that generated a lot of excitement. Though they are self sufficient in recording footage, they still need more training in transferring those recordings to iPods. They have not learned the skills to transfer footage from miniDV cameras. We think that if we used simple recording devices such as Flip cams, that the teams would be self sufficient in loading video recordings. The teams are have been introduced to loading media to iPods and could probably muddle through ,but they need at least two more training sessions to be self sufficient. They can all charge the iPods and play the recordings. B. We will train Native American groups to submit digital recordings to the Sound Survey at the University of California at Berkeley for long-term, climate-controlled storage. All groups received this training at Workshop 2 in Bakersfield on June 7, 2009. This event was funded by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. Training was provided by linguist Justin Spence of the Berkeley Language Center.

19: C. Two of our staff will learn web applications and then develop features on the KLCC web site so that our target audience can schedule training, exchange ideas, download equipment specs, lesson plans, and distribute media to support their own revitalization activities. This has been done to the extent that Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center staff can manipulate content in a Dreamweaver template and change the content on the live site. We used the self-paced tutorial from the “Classroom in a Book” series to gain these skills. The web site was launched in October 2009 at www.kawaiisu.org. D. In the beginning of our relationship with each group we will discuss with them their cultural revitalization plans and technologies that may assist those plans. I want to survey which technologies people are aware of. Within a 12-month span I will assess at least twice the effectiveness of technologies they have chosen. We surveyed all the teams on their plans for revitalization and on the technologies they were using when we began the project. It was not a surprise to learn that the younger the participants the more apt they were to be comfortable using newer technologies but we had some surprises. Mono Elder Don Jack had attended a month-long course on making multimedia stories at the American Indian Language Development Institute in Arizona and can easily use email. During the course of the project we checked in with the teams several times (see the list training events in Objective A) to learn how they were progressing with their technology learning curve and their revitalization plans.

20: July 6 Kawaiisu site visit, Walker Basin, for additional training on Marantz recorder

21: July 21 & 22 - Mono site visit, Coarsegold, for additional training on Marantz recorder

22: Workshop 3 August 13 & 14 Northfork, training for video cameras for all teams. The traditional skill highlighted was making soaproot brushes. | Greg, Don and Lawona walking to the soaproot site | Loreen getting training on video from Laura

23: Northfork mountains digging up the soaproots

24: Finding the Soaproot | Laura & Don | Don & Luther | David working hard | The gang

25: Preparing & Cleaning the Soaproot

26: Forming the soaproot brush fibers

27: Making glue and finishing soaproot brush

29: Some successes and difficulties We learned to consider more openly new technologies as they present themselves and how they might be applied to cultural revitalization. We have learned to weigh the benefits of technology tools against motivations of companies whose highest concerns may be creating new audiences of long-term consumers and to separate hype from true usefulness. Because of the very limited finances resources of all families in this project and the time they have to work on projects outside the demands of their lives, we have had to be very careful about flooding them with input that will exhaust either of those resources. If they continue to have positive experiences with new technologies, they may be open to more exploration. Perhaps this is our part to play. We were not surprised that the work we set out to do is hard work. Our success is that the three groups who have been participating will be versed enough so that they can in turn provide information and training to neighboring groups. They have become a part of the technology conversation. The events of the project have bonded the participants and so when we set out to do another project or some other big effort, we will have a base of support. It has been very rewarding for everyone.

30: Making seniors the lynch pin of a project meant that our schedule had to take second place to whatever health issues came up. One of the elders, Mono Don Jack has been in and out of the hospital for the whole of 2009. Though he has attended all of the events he cannot lead the group in teaching the traditional skills to be recorded as stated in the project proposal. We contacted another cultural expert, Mono tribal member Sandy Clark, to demonstrate how to make a soaproot brush. This began as a difficulty but has since become a success in that we have met and collaborated with a whole new set of cultural experts, Sandy Clark and all the people who are attached to her. Lawona Jasso lost her father (97 years old) in November. The women and girls all cut their beautiful long hair and it would have been very inappropriate to suggest a workshop. Lawona then went into the hospital in December 2009. The Elders usually spur their families and communities into new areas of growth. This is a cultural feature of Native California so many of our efforts must be put on hold until Elders are ready to proceed. There is always something that can be done, however. The Voices in Your Pocket project is more about changing the mind set of a segment of California's population rather than learning individual technologies. That requires the building of long-term relationships and working with communities over several years.

31: Workshop 4 October 24 & 25 Northfork, All teams learned about digital videotaping and loading files to iPods. The traditional skill highlighted was making acorn mush.

32: Cleaning the Acorns | bagged acorns | acorns | cracking | cracked | cleaning off the outside skin | cleaned and ready to grind

33: Griding the Acorns

34: Whole Acorns | Cracked | Cleaned | ground into powder

35: Leaching of the acorn powder to get rid of the bitter taste

36: A fire is needed to heat the lime stones that cook the acorn powder to a thick soup

37: We demonstrated how to get a good shot for the video camera and a digital camera during our weekend training

38: After the acorns have finished cooking they look a lot like a custard. This custard is dropped into a bucket of cold water to make biscuits.

39: Finally ready to eat with some tri-tip and peppers!!!

40: Have we achieved the objectives of the project? Two more group sessions would strengthen the teams’ abilities to load media onto the iPods and we have no doubt that will occur in the next six months. However, those activities will occur past the end of the grant period. The other three objectives have been completed. An update on the technology component of the project The technology component of our project has not changed from the one described in the original proposal. We are still advocating the use of technology that can stand alone and be learned through on-site workshops. Infrastructure such as broadband access, or technology training via vendors and community colleges simply does not exist in the majority of California Indian communities served by this project. We were also seeking equipment ownership and learning opportunities that could be paid for through grants because low income levels otherwise prevent those who were included in this project from participating in any other way. They could not bear the continuing costs of subscriptions, monthly payments, or tuition. We had to pick learning opportunities that could be sufficient and succeed on a finite budget.

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  • By: DAVID T.
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  • Title: Voices in your pocket
  • Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center Project with ours friends the Tachi's and Mono's and my dad Luther
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  • Published: over 6 years ago

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