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University of Utah Shoshoni Language Project receives award

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SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah’s Shoshoni Language Project recently was awarded the 2013 William Demmert Cultural Freedom Award by the National Indian Education Association.

The project works in collaboration with tribes to document and preserve the language through various research and outreach activities. It began in 2004 with a grant from the National Science Foundation and receives support from Barrick Gold Corp. of North America.

“William Demmert was an outstanding educational leader and researcher, promoting the inclusion of indigenous culture and language in the school curriculum, both in the U.S. and abroad,” said Marianna Di Paolo, director of the project and associate professor of anthropology at the U. “(We) are deeply honored to receive this prestigious award from the (National Indian Education Association) and to be associated with Dr. Demmert’s name.”

Among its activities, the project disseminates language materials to tribal members, creates curricula and teaching materials for various age levels, including bilingual children’s picture books, and provides Shoshoni language teacher training.

Since its incorporation in 1970, the National Indian Education Association has served as the convening organization for stakeholders who work with American Indian youths.