Native Language Cummunity Coordination

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ‒ Nelson Mandela

November 2018

What's New


To the Native Language Community Coordination’s (NLCC) first newsletter! We are eager and thrilled to inform and inspire you with bi-monthly newsletters that will contain educational information, tips/tricks/strategies, upcoming events, program highlights, and more.

About NLCC Training and Technical Assistance Center

The NLCC Training and Technical Assistance Center connects the NLCC cooperative agreement recipients and provides support to them through training, technical assistance, networking opportunities, Native language resources, tools, and community engagement. The goal of NLCC TTA Center is to maximize the recipients’ influence on each of their communities’ language revitalization efforts. The NLCC TTA Center is a resource of the Administration for Native Americans. Under contract with the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), the NLCC Training and Technical Assistance Center is operated by Sister Sky, Inc., a 100% Native American-owned, SBA-certified 8(a) Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB).

Upcoming Events

2018 ANA National Grantee Meeting

November 28, 2018 through November 30, 2018 (Wednesday through Friday)

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel-Crystal City
300 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22202
United States
(703) 416-4100

Language Workshops by NLCC Training and Technical Assistance Center, TTA Director, Cree Whelshula

  • Language Learning and The Brain
  • Language Learning Benefits


NLCC Articles

Service Learning

Contribution from the University of Omaha

Service learning is a unique combination of academics and community service. Service learning activities are thoughtfully prepared to both benefit others and purposefully incorporate subject areas like mathematics, science, reading/writing, etc. In a study published by the University of Nebraska, service learning was found to positively impact children in various capacities. This type of learning empowers youth, and gives them a sense of purpose and self-worth, and self-efficacy. It has also shown to increase student’s sense of civic responsibility, improved leadership skills, and leads students into activism. In addition, students’ academic performance improved in areas like writing and critical thinking.

Example of Service Learning: In the Fall, students can assist in making kindling bundles for Elders (this would be around kindergarten age). They can count out bundles of 20 and tie them together. They can keep a log or journal for how many bundles they have made. They can make cards that go with the bundles that gives the Elders “warm wishes” for the Winter. This activity hits on: math, writing, and fine motor development. It can also include science, if the teacher does lessons prior talking about trees and how they grow, which kinds are the best for fires to keep warm, where they grow, etc. TIP: Ask your local Forestry Department or Area Agency on Aging/Elder Services if they can assist with getting the wood. You can also apply the same things for a fall garden clean-up for those elders who need a little extra assistance.

Language Journey Spotlight

By Michele Seymour, Colville Tribal Member, Colville Tribes, nslxcin Language Instructor


My nslxcin name is mx̌ʷal̓, and my English name is Michele Seymour. I am 33 years old and am a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes. My parents are Frank and Loni Seymour. My paternal grandparents are Jim and Shirley Seymour, they were from Inchelium, Washington. My maternal grandparents are Eddie and Mary Ann Palmanteer and Ginger Oppenheimer. All of my grandparents have passed on, except my grandma Mary Ann. I grew up in Inchelium and Omak on the Colville Indian Reservation. I am not a high school graduate. I received my GED in 2006. I have had a common experience like lots of the kids growing up in a border town of an Indian reservation. As early as 12 years old and in sixth grade, I began to experience being stereotyped by the white people in town. As the years went on, it seemed to intensify, and for no other reason than that I was Indian. My school basketball experience was an epic failure on the part of the school district and the coaches for every grade level I played. Basketball is a part of my heart, I’ve been playing since I was about 6 or 7 years old. It got even thicker when I got my license to drive at 16 years old. At this time, local police had their eyes out for me as well. I did not even have a criminal record. I was never suspended from school at this point yet either. I did not drink alcohol, and for the most part I was a pretty responsible teenager. My mom never really took me serious back then when I would tell her police were harassing me. One day though, she had got to see it first-hand while she used my car for the day. The harassment by police happened all through the rest of my high school years. They never were able to get me for anything, as much as I know they wish they could have. At the time, I didn’t realize nor did I really feel the hurt in my heart for all that was happening in my life. I began drinking when I was 18 years old. All the hurt was about to turn into complete and total anger and then into hate. Drinking soon became an obsession. I was an everyday bottle of vodka drinker less than a few months after I began drinking. Once alcohol became that strong of a force in my life, I lost most of the friends I had grown up with and gained new friends. Drugs had also crashed into my life like an ocean wave taking me even further away from what I knew. Life was all about alcohol and drugs. I blew through all of my money I had gotten when I turned 18 for being an enrolled member of the Colville Tribes. With nothing left to show for it, but an addiction. I have been in the worst places this reservation has to offer and with the types of people you wouldn’t want your kids to hang out with, I became one of those people. I was also in an extremely dysfunctional relationship, lots of insecurity and violence. I finally started building a criminal record in Okanogan County and Tribal court. Any criminal charge or conviction against me, happened while I was intoxicated. After my third DUI, I was court ordered into a women’s treatment facility over in western Washington. It was “change your life, or go to jail” time. I was afraid to put a noose around my neck and give the other end to the county, that’s how my public defender put it, because I had already a few failed attempts at sobering up. But I hated jail more than I loved the mess my life had become. So, to me the choice was an obvious one. I chose to roll the dice. I completed treatment and came home. The first 22 months of my sobriety was, to me, no better than my life in active addiction. I was miserable. I was empty. I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself.

I give this snapshot of my life before language; not because I feel like a victim, but because throughout my life there has always been something missing and I’ve always filled it with this or that. Sometimes those things were good and sometimes they were bad things. But one day I walked into the Colville Tribes Language Preservation Program and asked if they would take me as a trainee through the Tribes Employment and Training program. They agreed and I began working here June of 2009 for the summer. I was officially hired into the Language Program in the fall of that year. I’ve learned lots of language and history since then. But what I’ve been given on top of all that is a new way of life. I’ve been given more than just words and translations. Language changed my life. It has filled that emptiness I’ve always carried within my heart that had previously been filled with hurt, anger, hate, alcohol, and drugs. It has given me a connection to Creator, the land, and the people. I feel held accountable by those things. I can no longer be so selfish and so arrogant because I know I am a small part of a much larger picture. I am not the center of everything. I am a small piece that fits where I am supposed to, and I need to live my life in a good way and teach what I have been blessed to be given. Language is power for many reasons, but it has a healing power that is often overlooked because our people have been taught to fear it. In some ways I still struggle with that fear. But, so far, I have 11 years of sobriety, and I don’t know if I would still be here had I not been connected to Creator through our language and culture.

If you or someone in your community would like to share how language has changed your life, email your story to

Evaluation Proclamations

Creating Good Questions (Spoiler Alert: It Can Be Hard!)

Each of the Native Language Community Coordination recipients has identified a plan for successful completion of cooperative agreement objectives. Though some demonstration of success can be satisfied through the counting of activities such as the number of children participating in the language program or the number of individuals recruited for an advisory council, some objectives require a different metric for demonstrating success.

There may be a need, for example, to show the contribution level that the advisory council made toward developing a curriculum for credentialing language immersion teachers. This is a complex question that may best be answered by asking open-ended questions.

Creating clear and unambiguous questions are an iterative process with the first version of the questions likely being different from the final version. The goal of creating well-defined questions is so that the person answering does not have to interpret the meaning of the questions. Using our advisory council example, a first pass in creating an open-ended question requires that we do not lead the respondent to answer in a certain way and that she or he answers using his or her own words. The first question draft may look like this: “How committed was the council to completing curriculum development?”

At face value, it may seem to be a good question, although there may be some members that understand the word “commitment” in different ways. Some advisory council members may interpret commitment to mean completion of tasks, while others interpret it as consistently attending meetings.

Thus to assess the commitment of advisory council members in completing the curriculum we may want to ask more than one question about differing types of commitment, “What are a few words that come to mind when you think about how well the advisory council met project deadlines?” and “How would you describe the attendance of advisory council meetings?” and “How would you describe the equity of tasks assigned to each member on the advisory council?” Of course, there could be more or other lines of inquiry to assess advisory council commitment. The point is that a basic question about commitment may not be understood in the same way by all.

TIP: Try NOT to create questions in a vacuum. Share draft questions with others having knowledge about your objectives and activities. Maybe come-up with agreed upon concepts of what you are trying to assess and develop questions based upon these concepts. In our commitment example, we identified concepts of deadlines, attendance, and equity of tasks for development of our questions.

Happy question developing!

Jim and Gary

Newsletter Info:

NLCC newsletter is a collaborative effort among the NLCC TTA Center staff and subcontractors, the NLCC Cohort, and the ANA. For year 3 of the grant, the newsletter is distributed on the 1st Thursday of the Month. Prior to the distribution, we ask the recipieints to provide highlights and to share information regarding their programs as we continue the implementation of this communication and resource tool. To learn more about NLCC and the NLCC TTA Center go to our website:

If you have any resources, events, or highlights you would like to share, please submit your information to Cree Whelshula at

Thank you for being part of this networking collaboration!

lemlmtš (Spokane Salish – Thank you)
Qe'ci'yew'yew' (Nimiipuu – Thank you)

Contact Info:

Cree Whelshula
NLCC Training and Technical Assistance Director

ANA: Administration for Native Americans

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