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Indigenous language revitalization

April 25, 2023

road to reese river valley

(Road to Reese River Valley through the Shoeshone Mountains in Central Nevada. Credit: Marissa Weaselboy)

Marissa Weaselboy’s (UVic Geography PhD student) research centers her own Western Shoshone communities located on Newe Sogobia in Nevada. Her master’s thesis project is the result of conducting oral histories with her grandmothers on the Shoshone coming-of-age ceremony, called the Ondabuhku, which culminated in a camp focused on reclaiming this ceremony for Shoshone girls and their matriarchs.

This will be the third year for the Newe Wai’ppe Nanamaika Camp that intends to center language and land through a Shoshone feminist lens. Additionally, her focus has also been on language reclamation efforts that move beyond revitalization and instead positions the community as leading language work. 

On November 19th, 2022, Marissa and her advisor, Dr. Deondre Smiles, co-presented at the Maamwizing conference at Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ontario) on the ways that work such as Marissa’s ties into broader narratives of Indigenous resurgence, and the ways that Geography can help inform such narratives into the future. The presentation, titled ‘Innate Indigenous Geographies: Language and Sense of Place’ was well received by conference attendees.

Smiles noted, “We are proud to have Marissa as a part of our Geographic Indigenous Futures Collaboratory and look forward to helping her centre the resurgence of her nation.”