Skip to Content

NAS Research Colloquium: Carson and Jerome Viles (Confederated Tribes of Siletz), “Nuu-da’Mv-ne’- A Case Study in Creating and Utilizing an Indigenous Language Archive”

Oct 17, 2018, 12:00 pm1:30 pm

Many Nations Longhouse

Free and open to the public. Bring your own lunch.


Reclaiming archival language materials is often framed as a repatriation or re-possession of cultural property. Carson and Jerome would like to present an alternative view, in which archival materials exist as a part of the cultural community, and not as a discrete possession. In this light, working with archival materials exists as a responsibility to our ancestors, community and selves. We seek to position today’s language and cultural revitalization work along a longstanding and intentional effort by our communities to maintain inter-generational knowledge transmission and fulfill our responsibilities as Xvsh (Indian people). We explore the role that linguistics and archival management can play in re-humanizing Native sree-ye’ (hearts and minds), and in strengthening the connection between ancestral generations and today’s community. Our talk will focus on our ongoing work to create a digital archive for Oregon Dene language materials, called Nuu-da’ Mv-ne’ (, and our related linguistic and language materials development.

Carson Viles is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and has family ties to the Chinook Indian Nation. Carson has been involved as a language learner, teacher and advocate for language revitalization through numerous avenues. Carson received his BA from the UO Clark Honors College, writing his honors thesis on home-based language revitalization in the Eugene area among both Dee-ni’/Dv-ne and Lushootseed learners. He has attended and taught at the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) Summer Institute, taken language classes in Tolowa Dee-ni’ through the UO system and has pursued community education classes both with the Siletz Tribe and informally with others. Carson has also traveled with the Siletz tribal community to the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival’s One World, Many Languages Fair. Currently, Carson is working as a researcher and outreach coordinator for the Southwest Oregon Dene Language (SWODL) Project.

Jerome Viles (Sixes, Joshua, Chetco, Lower Chinook) work on the Southwest Oregon Dene Languages Project team, as part of an NSF Documenting Endangered Languages grant (BCS-1562859). Jerome specializes in database management and transcription of written and audio language materials. Jerome oversees Nuu-da’ Mv-ne’ Digital Archive. He is active in phonological and orthographic analysis of archival materials, alongside Carson and Jaeci Hall, and works to bring archival materials to the descendants of language authorities. He is honored to do that work for his own community. Jerome also teaches Chinuk Wawa at Lane Community College. He is enrolled at the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and holds a BA in Linguistics and a MA in Non-Profit Management from the University of Oregon.

Skip to toolbar