Experiences and Pedagogical Possibilities of Indigenous Language Brokering 

In many contexts, Indigenous community members use language brokering, including interpretation and translating, to negotiate relationships, as well as institutional, political and economic contact zones. Studies and pedagogical efforts that recognize Indigenous language brokering, however, are rare. This summer, I plan to work with two Yup’ik consultants who were youth interpreters and are now experienced language educators and experts in the Yup’ik region of Alaska. Specifically, I will 1) interview six former youth interpreters about historical and contemporary forms of language brokering, and 2) conduct a focus group to share initial findings, and generate ideas for curricula and additional research focused on Indigenous language brokering. Project results will include presentations, publications and a webinar focused on language brokering and implications for language education Indigenous communities; a sample curricula focused on Indigenous language brokering; and two grant proposals for externally-funded research in Alaskan and Latin American contexts. As one of the first studies of Indigenous language brokering, the proposed study will offer key insights to research on immigrant and Indigenous bi/multilingualism, and critical language pedagogies in endangered language contexts.