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Language challenge

The Indigenous Language Institute has been in existence for 16 years. During that time we have given assistance and provided services to more than 1,300 language teachers and activists from more than 140 tribes and communities by providing workshops and training in language issues and technology.

As a non-profit, we have always been in the challenging position of constantly seeking funds. Most have come from foundations and the government and a few generous individuals.

Like all organizations, the ILI has a number of ongoing projects. And all projects require precious operational funds that are the most difficult to raise. But, these challenges have never slowed us down or allowed us to forget our mission. Over the years, we have forged ahead with our important work. Our fundraising has followed suit, sometimes under extremely trying circumstances.

In 2001, for example, on the eve of a huge fundraising concert in Santa Fe, the country was stung by the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York. The immediate effect of this was to reduce philanthropy to a trickle as the country addressed the emergency. That hurt us, but like the rest of you, we worked through the crisis to continue our work.

Now, at the end of 2008, ILI is faced with similar straits due to the world’s present economic crisis. Again, we’ve been subjected to events outside of our control. However, we refuse to let it stop us or our work.

All of us at ILI continue to strive toward our goal helping Indian country keep and maintain our precious languages, our most valuable cultural gift, and now we are asking for your direct help in the form of financial contributions to keep our doors open for Indian country.

We’re often asked, “Have you asked the gaming tribes?” or “What about the Federal government?” or “What about foundations?” Yes, we have asked all of them for support, and will continue to seek any possible avenue, including these sources.

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However, our needs are immediate, and can only be achieved through your generous commitments.

It is my personal belief that individual Indians and their friends will extend the financial help that we are asking to the best of their ability. That’s all we ask.

No contribution is too small; $5, $20, or $100 or whatever you can give will be accepted and deeply appreciated. This will permit ILI to continue its work for Indian country in keeping our languages alive for the future as our ancestors did for us.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of this year with this direct appeal. Please help ILI help communities in preserving our languages.

You can contribute online at or contact our office in Santa Fe at (505) 820-0311 and ask for Ex. Dir. Inée Slaughter.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and for helping us to continue our important work.

Gerald L. Hill, Oneida
Indigenous Language Institute
Santa Fe, N.M.