Documenting images is very important.  You really don’t want to get into trouble later on.  I would really like to post my own pictures as they are more relevant to what I teach.  I have problems finding images that really show the people indigenous to the Northeast.  There are many images that relate to the Southwest and the Plains Native Americans, but not to the Haudenosaunee.  My class is working on taking their our own pictures.    

Actors and Actresses in the Making

This year I incorporated movies into my classroom.  The language that I am teaching is an endangered language, meaning there are very few speakers left, and children are not growing up hearing or speaking the language.  So, I video taped a local elder doing everyday living situations speaking Seneca language.  While this project is far from being completed I introduced my students into the world of filming.  It is definitely a work in progress.  I am very interested in learning more about the site Xtranormal and Animoto.  One thing that we found this year while also using a TPR model for learning is there are few images out there that my Native American students can identify with.  Some of the comments made are how come they’re not brown or we don’t live in teepees.  So accessing content that relates to our area is difficult at times.  By using Animoto we could take our own images embed them and possibly come up with our own stories.  We could also make a movie based on the images we take and do a voice over using Seneca.  The possibilities are endless.  I really will have to become more familiar with these sites and play around and see what I can do.  I enjoyed reading and seeing what’s out there to assist us in teaching our students in the 21st century.

The Power of a Word

My 8th grade students are practicing for the proficiency exam they will have to take in June.  I’m looking into incorporating “Voice Threads” into helping them.  It could be another tool to help unite all Seneca language learners.  It will promote digital literacy skills as well as listening and oratory skills.  I’m going to play around with it and see what we can do.  I’m excited to learn more about this.  I can also record some elders over the summer and that way it will be more structured for next year! 

Comic Strips

Most of our stories were passed down orally.  Some books have been written capturing much of the stories told but not in the same way.  It takes a skillfull person to tell these stories and to keep their audiences interested.  The story will never be told the same way twice, but you will hear the very important details.  I use ToonDoo with my students to practice storytelling.  It’s a great way to have them lay the story out in sequential order and develop setting that each of them create.  By using the comic strip model they develop their own characters, and put in the important parts while filling in the gaps.  It’s a comic strip setting so they cannot write out all of the story.  They use simple lines to help them remember and the pictures aid in the retelling of the story.  This is my second year using this program and my students love it.  I give them the website a few weeks beforehand so they can play around and become familiar on their own.  It’s very user friendly and self explanatory.  Try it out with your students I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. 

<a href=’′><img src=’’ border=’0′ width=’450′ alt=’Peacemakers Journey 2′ title=’Click to View Full Size Image’ ></a><br><div style=’font-size: 11px; font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: left; width: 100%;’>By <a href=’’>atahamon</a> | <a href=’′>View this Toon at ToonDoo</a> | <a href=’’>Create your own Toon</a></div>

Indigenous but using a Foreign model?

3242506142_dccfaa7acf[1]Image:  Peyote Art by Herbert Stash 16 licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

 How do you feel about teaching an Indigenous language using the foreign language model?  Have you found that this model works for you?  I know an immersion setting is best for everyone, but in the current situation we have to use what is available to us.  In the public school system surrounding the Seneca territories Seneca language is taught within the middle and high school everyday for about 40 minutes.  Do you feel that using a Spanish or French proficiency exam model meets the best needs for our Seneca language learners?  What do you think could change?  I think that word count doesn’t really show what a student is capable of.  If the student is able to answer the question correctly they should receive credit versus how many words they use.  Let me know your thoughts.

Language Death in the 21st Century


As a Seneca language learner why do you feel it’s important to learn the language of your ancestors?  To me it means we are holding onto to time immemorial.  It links us to who we are and where we have come from.  It helps us form our identity, and always have a link to that first woman who fell from the sky.  It gives us an understanding of the world and the things in it.  Without that we are lost.  I believe this is true for any heritage language. 

Below is another link to Jessica Huff’s website that is geared toward current Seneca language teachers.

Picture by John Fadden

Picture by John Fadden