As a part of public outreach, the Language Department organized and offered the Cayuga Language Outreach which is a part-time workshop initiative (up to 25 hours per week) to provide a safe space to discuss elements of the Onkwehonwe Longhouse ceremonies and rituals. The Cayuga Language Outreach completed the Gaiwi:yo – Moral Code of Handsome Lake and then moved on to provide language and information supporting the Longhouse Calendar of Ceremonies.

The Facilitator is Alfred Keye, a Longhouse Faith Keeper, former NSL and Immersion Teacher, and a lay-linguist. As part of his duties, he also worked one day of the week with the 11 students in the Master Apprentice program throughout the entire year, giving him a student/teacher ration from 25 to 1.

The CURA Project

Cayuga: Our Oral Legacy (COOL) is a Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) Project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) which began in the Fall of 2010. The official SSHRC title for this project is “Cayuga Language Maintenance”. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Carrie Dyck a Linguistics Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Co-Investigator is Amos Key, Jr. Director of First Nations Language Program at the Woodland Cultural Centre. This project is a strategic partnership between Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Woodland Cultural Centre with several community partners: Six Nations Polytechnic, Six Nations Language Commission, Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board and Sweetgrass First Nations Language Council Inc. The main goals is to increase the number of Gayogoho:no speakers; increase fluency levels; Gayogoho:no spoken everywhere in the Six Nations community; demonstrate how knowing Gayogoho:no promotes spiritual, emotional, and academic intelligence; engage in public education and advocacy of minority language education, bilingualism, and bilingual education; and promote a change in public attitudes and policies about First Nations languages.

The Steering Committee is comprised of eight community members, active language learners and fluent speakers: Angie Monture, Joanne Longboat, Lottie Keye, RenaeBomberry, Roronhiakehte Deer, Tom Deer, Tracy Deer, and Alfred Keye.

Current Projects

GodiwenaeGayogoho:no – Cayuga Language Nest currently has 9 students enrolled in this unique daycare. Program Leader Janie Johnson and staff currently run this daycare where children from the ages of 1 to 5 interact with three Elders speaking only the Cayuga language.

DwadewayehstaGayogoho:no – Master-Apprentice Program is a program wherein Intermediate and Novice speakers work with fluent/bilingual Elders to raise the individual’s competency in their oral proficiency. Currently there are 9 ‘apprentices’ who are active learners, and have been meeting their ‘Master’ speakers 1:1 and in groups, and meet with Alfred Keye one morning a week to go through the Gaihwi:yo.

Gaihwi:yo – Community Outreach started in July 2010 with approximately 55 people registered so classes were being held bi-weekly, at the Onondaga Language Centre on 5th line to accommodate such a large group.

Conversations (For a Cayuga Teaching Grammar) is a project led by Tom Deer with an emphasis on the construction of grammatical resources in Cayuga for adult learners. Conversations are constructed in order to illustrate specific grammatical points and then audio recordings are made that will be used in the development of a Cayuga teaching grammar and possibly for other CURA-related materials.

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