Shoshone Immersion Nights
Organized by: Samuel Broncho
Tonight Marked the 3rd Immersion Night
November 19, 2016
Hakanni memme? Ne Samuel Broncho mai nanihan. Ne Atakko naitte.
Hello everyone. My name is Samuel Broncho and I am from Elko, NV. Throughout my life I have had the benefit of growing up with parents who are fluent in our Native, Ancestral, Indigenous languages. For my family this is Shoshone and Paiute. Much like the rest of my generation of Native Americans, growing up we were never explicitly taught any language besides English. There would be a few opportunities to take classes on our language but there was never anything that helped anyone utilize what they learned in the real world. The best opportunities to learn the language would be outside of the community and hosted by non-Native Americans.
For this reason, I decided to create the Shoshone Immersion Dinner series. As a a Shoshone language instructor, one of my goals is for all learners of Shoshone to have a place where they can practice openly, without fear of criticism. A second, but equally important goal is to create a space where Shoshone language learners can interact and speak with elders in the community, bridging the gap of fluent speakers and beginning learners, which also happens to be a generational gap. Shoshone Immersion Dinners are a chance to use what you know, listen to fluent speakers, and if someone is completely brand new to learning, soaking in the immersion process. These immersion nights are hosted at our local community welcome center, based around a dinner, preferably Native-based meal but since we live in a contemporary world it is necessary to explore language involved with many kinds of food. I create and distribute cheat sheets that have important and relevant vocabulary and phrases for that evening. Students from my beginning Shoshone class at the local college attend for an extra opportunity to practice what they've learned, Shoshone elders from the community assist in cooking, setting up, and general practice. Everyone who attends helps set up, cook, and serve. Once the timer starts, everyone has to only speak Shoshone. If the participants are having issues they can refer to their cheat sheet, act something out, or just sit back and take everything in. The idea is to recreate the immersive experience of when we learned our first language. We babbled, we listened, and mimicked.
How you can help:
We have successfully hosted 2 dinners over the past 6 months, but we need your help to fund the next event, scheduled to take place in November, which also happens to be Native American Heritage month. Your donation to this project will cover the cost of supplies for the dinner, the rental fee for the space and prizes for activities throughout the evening.