Studying Indigenous Heritage Languages at Universities A Collaborative Autoethnography




Chew, Kari A. B.
Keliiaa, Katie
Hicks, Nitana

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4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)


Using collaborative autoethnography, this article explores the experiences of Indigenous graduate students as they navigate higher education and work to ensure the continuance of their heritage languages for future generations. The authors of this self-study represent diverse heritage languages and attend different universities across the United States. Following a discussion of Indigenous languages as tied to identity and a means to confront hegemonic power within universities, a review of the literature highlights new directions in language reclamation scholarship—particularly in the portrayal of youth, young adult, and postsecondary student contributions. The authors then present their experiences through vignettes, as well as an analysis of emerging themes. Ultimately, the article argues that, despite diverse backgrounds, the authors share a view of higher education as a tool—albeit one with limitations—that can enable them as effective contributors to language revitalization efforts.




Chew, K., Keliiaa, Katie & Hicks, Nitana (2015). Language and Culture as Protective Factors for At-Risk Communities. 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC).