Building Indigenous Language Activism and cross-community support for using Mayan languages in a predominantly white Midwestern town.
Did you use the resources offered during the Improve Phase (mentorship, expert feedback, community research)? (2000 characters)
Hopes and desires
This mini video the result of some of the people we talked to in our journey to better understand the communities we walked with (Maya community members) and partner with (service providers). We used the Community Research Guide.
In the process of gathering information, we tested the solidity of the bridges we have build with our allies, partners and Maya community over the past decade for some of our teams members. We talked to immigrant serving organizations partnering with us such as the YMCA-Welcome Center, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UIUC, teachers and parent liaisons at the school districts, immigration lawyers but principally to the community on the move at the heart of this project: the distinct Maya communities. Some important insights that emerged are the deep desire of Q'anjob'al speakers to read and write in their language so they can teach their young kids and thus, keep families together across transnational borders versus the assumption was there wasn't a desire to learn it or sufficient time to study. Based on that feedback, we incorporated Q’anjob’al literacy to our overall language activism perspective. We learned from the mentorship of Cristina and the expertise of Swatee that in order to scale up and make strategic use of 1) technologies available like Pizarra Animada and others, so 2) other communities, stakeholders and organizations widely share the experiences of people on the move so other community members can relate to them 2)
In what ways would potential BridgeBuilder funds allow you to pursue your idea that other funding opportunities have not? (1000 characters)
The funding will formalize and amplify Mayan Languages on the Move, an already operating loose cohort of indigenous migrants, with preliminary training in formal interpretation protocols, invested in language justice. It will intervene in legal proceedings, hospitals, and elsewhere. Today, the vast majority of such interpretation involves call centers, where interpretations occur in Spanish, and furthering Mayan marginality.
$200,000 will generate these deliverables:
85,000 Mayan youth training and stipends
40,000 Institution workshops and materials development
40,000 Interns and staffing
20,000 Online interpretation webinars
15,000 Interpreter Gathering
What aspects or proportion of the overall idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (1000 characters)
Resources already in place are provided by school districts, UIUC in-kind contributions that include digital media support, recording facilities, software and faculty and teachers experts on many of the issues at play, departmental internships from Computer Science and Anthropology/Linguistics, and CLACS), NAILL Native America Indigenous Language Lab provides webspace for interpreters organization and online-curricula. BridgeBuilders will primarily fund 1) a project manager 2) Maya community members/students internships developed for Language Activism and Indigenous Interpretation. 3) Experts like linguists and anthropologists working within the field of interpretation and Dr. Pedro Mateo Pedro, Q’anjob’al linguist working on issues of language acquisition in Guatemala. These experts perspectives will allow us to critically engages in issues of replicability across national spaces and distinct Indigenous and minoritized languages globally.
What will community-level impact look like over the timeframe of your idea? How will you determine whether or not you have achieved that impact? And what outstanding questions do you still have? (1000 characters)
IMPACT: By 2021 we plan to 1) establish grassroots Multilingual Capacity through the Nail Q'anej Maya Interpreters CBO, Maya Working Group, and schools language activist impacting institutions (5,000 workers trained) and increasing language access for 6,000 Mayan speakers in the area and 10,000 online service and training, and 2) create a job niche for the youth and women within the Maya community on the move (60 Q'anjob'al Interpreters). MEASUREMENT: We will elaborate a yearly needs assessments; make use of digital tools to track: trainees and people served; Language Activists trained; and teachers trained and students served. We will interview key service providers in terms of services provided. We will observe and apply interview-based evaluations of interpreters decreasing in time as they train.
Lastly, how did you apply new learnings to your idea? (1000 characters)
1. Swatee expertise helped us think about allies and collaborative practices to succeed as we scale up and also methods by which to successfully assess our project.The need to share Mayan migrant experiences through media, web platforms, and other technologies. And in terms of impact, collecting testimonies of our services provided.
2. Cristina was wonderful and helped us think about scalability through media and asked many questions to make us think about replicability. This was extremely useful and we did modified our project to reflect this.
3. Yes, we did. We learned about the importance of music for the community as a whole, structural challenges that will need to be addressed as we move forwards with the interpreters collective, and lastly, about the desire to connect with their community in Guatemala and thus, the need to keep the language thriving within the younger generations.