Workshop on American Indigenous Languages

May 3rd - 4th

at the University of California, Santa Barbara

We are excited to announce that UCSB's First Indigenous Film Festival will be a part of WAIL! Make sure you register separately here. 

¡Estamos muy contentes de anunciar que el primer Festival de Cine Indígena de UCSB será parte de WAIL! Asegúrense de registrarse por separado aquí

Check the program here

Consulta el programa aquí

Prof. Melvatha R. Chee will be our keynote speaker!

Melvatha R. Chee is Tsé Nahabiłnii, Kin Łichíi’nii, Hooghan Łání and Áshįįhí, a Diné woman from Lake Valley, New Mexico. She has over 15 years of experience working with her heritage language in a professional capacity. This includes interpretation, translation, transcription, teaching and research. Dr. Chee’s work includes teaching the Diné language at the University of New Mexico, serving as an official interpreter for the U.S. Department of Justice, and translating voting ballots for the State of New Mexico. Her research work analyzes child language data collected from first language speakers of Navajo. She primarily examines how children learn to use the morphologically complex Navajo verb. Additionally, she is working to build a Navajo language corpus consisting of stories, narratives, and conversations. Her research interests include first language acquisition, morphophonology, polysynthesis, semantics, morphology, the application of cognitive linguistics to Navajo, and the intersection between language, culture and linguistics, and indigenous language sustainability. Dr. Chee, a United States Marine Corps Veteran, is a fluent speaker of Navajo and became literate at a very young age. As a linguistically trained individual, she offers a unique insight into research on Navajo. Melvatha has firsthand experience in linguistic fieldwork with indigenous communities. She has collected, processed and analyzed Navajo language data, and collaborated on several successful grant-writing projects. Melvatha works hard to maintain a connection to her culture to enrich her Navajo language skills, knowledge and wellbeing. Melvatha, an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico, is currently serving as Director of the Navajo Language Program. 

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A two-day summit of talks about the latest on American Indigenous Languages & Linguistics

Day 1

Conference begins with a blessing by local Chumash People, the traditional custodians of land that UCSB resides followed by a day of presentations

Day 2

Presentations continue along with the Keynote Address



The goal of WAIL is to bring leaders in American Indigenous Languages and Linguistics from across the globe together so that we may help each other grow and learn.

The Venue

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Situated just west of Santa Barbara on the scenic cliffs above the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the University of California, Santa Barbara is a top research university. Hike one of the regions many excellent trails. Walk along the beautiful sand beaches. Enjoy some of the best food California has to offer.