Ofelia Zepeda Endowment

Ofelia Zepeda Endowment in Native American Language Documentation and Revitalization

Remove Financial Barriers to Language Revitalization

Your support helps students from endangered language groups in the Master of Arts in Native American Languages and Linguistics (NAMA) program learn how to reclaim and revitalize endangered Native American languages.

By reducing NAMA students' financial burden, you enable them to bring their knowledge of preserving, protecting, and promoting Native American languages back to their communities. Many are also going on to complete a Ph.D. and become influential scholars who can mentor and advise younger generations of students.

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Make Native American Language Revitalization Accessible

Each Native American language is a unique and irreplaceable source of knowledge, culture, and human experience. When Europeans arrived in North America, there were approximately 300 active Native American languages. As these communities were affected by disease, war, and forced assimilation, the intergenerational transmission of their languages was endangered. In Arizona, only two languages – Navajo and Tohono O’odham – continued to be taught to younger generations as a first language.

However, Native American communities across the continent work to revitalize, reclaim, and increase usage of their languages. From interactive games to educational videos and text analysis, communities are breathing life back into languages that were once endangered.

We call on your support to help students in the Department of Linguistic's NAMA program from endangered language groups break through financial barriers so that they may learn how to reclaim their languages, empower their communities, and preserve their culture.

See Your Support Impact Students' Pathways to Success

Rosalia Badhorse posing at graduation with Ofelia Zepeda.

Rosalia Badhorse (Cheyenne) graduated with her masters in linguistics from the NAMA program in Spring 2023.

"Endangered languages are a real issue for Native American communities, and attempting to tackle this from linguistics can be such a daunting task. But it's great to have such an amazing support system and sense of community with NAMA. 

Cheyenne language grammar can appear complicated, but I'm finally starting to understand more of my language, and I'm just so excited to share this with others."

– Rosalia Badhorse (NAMA Graduate)



Mosiah Bluecloud and community members.

Mosiah Bluecloud working with the Pascua Yaqui Teacher Language Institute planning committee on teaching methodologies for language revitalization.

"I believe that language is the glue that holds communities together by connecting past, present and future culture caretakers. Language provides access to identity and ways of being. My hope is to create lasting pathways to one's heritage languages."

– Mosiah Bluecloud (NAMA graduate, Ph.D. Linguistics student)

The Ofelia Zepeda Endowment 

Ofelia Zepeda

The Ofelia Zepeda Endowment, named in honor of  Regents Professor Zepeda, raises funds to support students who are learning to revitalize languages in their communities.

These funds support students through:

In the longer term, the Zepeda Endowment will also support an endowed professorship to continue increasing access to education for people who come from endangered language groups.

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