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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Tribe Awarded Grant To Train Middle School Language Teacher
by Indian Country Today Staff
The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe received confirmation Sept. 23 that the Klallam Language Program was awarded a $483,744 three-year language grant. Out of 387 other applicants, only eight grants were awarded. Part of the funding will be used to train an apprentice to become tribal/state certified middle school Klallam language teacher.

“The goal of this grant will be to strengthen and broaden our community of Klallam language speakers by transcribing recorded stories; developing lessons from these stories, and training a middle school Klallam language teacher.” said Program Manager Jamie Valadez. “This grant will also create job opportunities for tribal artists, as the stories will be illustrated and published.”

Currently, there is a state/tribal credited Klallam language class taught at Port Angeles High School. The award-winning instructor, Valadez teaches the class. The class is open to all students, and has been offered there since 1998. The curriculum and materials for this class were developed and paid through previous Administration for Native Americans grants.

This is the sixth ANA grant the tribe has received since 1995. Classes have been taught at the Lower Elwha Head Start, tribal center elementary after-school program, the Lower Elwha Head Start, in the Port Angeles High School, and a weekly community language class at the Lower Elwha Child Care.

“The proof that this program has been successful is in the fact that the tribe has been awarded an ANA language grant six times,” said Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles. “Some of the teachers were preschool students at the Lower Elwha Head Start. Our goal has always been to revive and restore the Klallam Language, and we’re doing that.”

“Outreach to both Jamestown and Port Gamble tribes has also been a goal to help revitalize the Klallam language in their communities,” Valadez said. “We’ve been doing this by revitalizing songs, ceremonial speeches, having classes and prayers for community events and protocol speeches at the canoe journeys celebrations.”

“The continued training of new language teachers is fulfilling the dreams of our elders by revitalizing a language on the brink of extinction,” said language teacher Wendy Sampson.

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe resides in the Lower Elwha River Valley and adjacent bluffs on the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula just west of Port Angeles, Wash. The original land base was acquired by the United States in trust for the tribe in 1935-36 and these lands were proclaimed as the Lower Elwha Reservation in 1968. Today, tribal lands include about 1,000 acres of land on and near the Elwha River.

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