Map of Native Languages of North America

Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Professors Monica Macaulay, Ryan Henke, and Emeritus Professor Rand Valentine have devoted their professional lives to the study, documentation, and revitalization of endangered languages, especially Native American languages from the Algonquian family.

Professor Macaulay has been involved in linguistic fieldwork and revitalization activities for a number of native languages including Chalcatongo Mixtec, Karuk, Potawatomi, and, since 1998, Menominee. She worked together with the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin to compile dictionaries of Menominee at Beginner (Oskēh-Wāēpeqtah Omāēqnomenēweqnaesen Wēhcekanan – A Beginner’s Dictionary of Menominee) and Intermediate levels (Omāēqnomenēweqnaesen Wēhcekanan – Menominee Dictionary), and also collaborated on Ézhe-bmadzimgek gdebodwéwadmi-zheshmomenan: Potawatomi Dictionary, published by the Forest County Potawatomi Community.

Professor Henke‘s research has focused primarily on how young children learn to speak Northern East Cree in the Cree Nation of Chisasibi (Eeyou Istchee, Québec). He has also worked through the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI) with language activists, teachers, and students who are revitalizing language and dialects such as Dëne Sųłiné, Nakota, Plains Cree, Saulteaux, and Tłi̜chǫ Yatiì.

Professors Macaulay and Henke direct the Wisconsin Languages Lab and the Algonquian Languages Lab at UW-Madison – email them directly for more information. They are also members of Enwejig Indigenous Language Advocates, a group of faculty and staff who work for linguistic justice for indigenous languages at UW-Madison.

Language Sciences is also fortunate to have as a member Professor Grant Armstrong, who has conducted research focused on the description, teaching, and analysis of Yucatec Maya since 2010. Yucatec Maya is a Mayan language spoken in Central America. Professor Armstrong’s work has included the creation of learner and teacher training materials, as well as description and linguistic analysis of the language.

Professor Rand Valentine (emeritus) taught Ojibwe language classes at UW-Madison for many years, and was co-editor of the Odawa & Eastern Ojibwe online dictionary together with Mary Ann Naokwegijig-Corbiere. He also served as summer faculty for the Indigenous Language Instructor’s Program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which certifies students to teach native languages in the Canadian school system.