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Smithsonian and U’s Center for American Indian Languages Form Intellectual Collaboration

Jan. 10, 2005 — The University of Utah’s College of Humanities has formed a unique collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The University’s Center for American Indian Languages (CAIL) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will collaborate on publications, pedagogical initiatives, student internships, archiving original fieldwork materials on endangered languages and joint sponsorship of conferences on endangered American Indian languages.

“We’re delighted with this opportunity to work with the Smithsonian Institution,” states Robert Newman, dean of the College of Humanities. “This relationship opens doors for our students, our faculty and for our community.”

Key initiatives for the coming year have already been identified and will include a national conference that will bring together, among others, the Arctic Studies Center, the Council for the Preservation of Anthropological Records, the Mexico-North Research Network and The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA).

“The National Museum of Natural History is pleased to collaborate with CAIL on a program that will advance linguistic scholarship and contribute to the work of Native communities involved in language revitalization efforts,” notes Hans Sues, associate director for research and collections at the Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

CAIL director Lyle Campbell, linguistics professor and recipient of the Linguistic Society of America’s prestigious “Leonard Bloomfield Book Award,” notes that the partnership with the Smithsonian will further expand CAIL’s important work in the preservation of endangered American Indian languages.

CAIL, located in historical Fort Douglas on the University of Utah campus, is dedicated to urgent and ambitious research on the endangered languages and cultures of Native America; to the training of students to address scholarly and practical needs involving these languages and their communities of speakers (with training for native speakers and those whose heritage languages are involved); and to working towards linguistic and cultural revitalization in communities where languages and cultures are endangered. CAIL, whose members have strong national and international standing, leverages the strengths of the University’s American Indian linguistics and endangered languages programs.

For more information about CAIL or the Smithsonian collaboration, contact Heidi Camp, assistant dean in the College of Humanities, at 801-581-6214, or Lyle Campbell at