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Ofelia Zepeda on Legacies of the Tribal Languages of Arizona: Gifts or Responsibilities (Video)

The ASU Library Channel presents the tenth installment of The Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community with Ofelia Zepeda on Legacies of the Tribal Languages of Arizona: Gifts or Responsibilities

In this presentation, Ofelia Zepeda  talks about the languages of the tribes of Arizona. As the title suggests, Zepeda describes how language has become both a gift and a responsibility. She interweaves her poetry, adapting it to her discussion as she talks about the chain which holds people together: t-ni’oki, t-cegitodag, t-jewd - language, memory, and land.

View more videos from the series on YouTube.

Download Presentation Audio (MP3) Lecture Video available for download at the Internet Archive.

Running Time: 1 hour

Ofelia Zepeda is a Regents' Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship for her work in American Indian language education, maintenance and recovery. She is a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation of southern Arizona, born and raised in Stanfield, Arizona. Zepeda's work in linguistics includes the first pedagogical grammar of the Tohono O’odham language, A Tohono O’odham Grammar, as well as other topics on the O’odham language, Native American language shift, language endangerment and documentation. In addition Zepeda is a poet with publications in both Tohono O’odham and English. She has three books of poetry, Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert, Jewed I-hoi/Earth Movements and Where Clouds are Formed. In 2009 she collaborated on a public arts project that included engraving of some of her poems on boulders north of the University of Arizona campus. Other public art includes work in Passages at South Mountain Community College Library in South Phoenix. Zepeda is currently the director of the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI), one of the longest running Indigenous language training institutes in the country. She is also the series editor of Sun Tracks, a book series publishing Native American writers at the University of Arizona Press.


“BEING ABLE TO FULLY APPRECIATE the richness and uniqueness of languages is a good place to start when considering language efforts for the future.—OFELIA ZEPEDA

ASU Sponsors: American Indian Policy Institute | American Indian Studies Program | Department of English | Faculty of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies | Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation (all units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) | Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law | Labriola National American Indian Data Center

Community Partner: Heard Museum