Indigenous Language Table

beginning 1/18
1:00 – 2:00 PM
Curiosity Corridor, Rm 1145

(located on the 1st floor of the Discovery Building on the North Randall Ave side)


What is an Indigenous Language Table?  A Indigenous Language Table is designed to enable language learners to develop spoken language skills outside of the classroom setting, build community, strengthen language purpose, and normalize indigenous language with representation.

Who can attend? Students taking a University language class who want to practice their skills beyond a classroom setting can attend one of the many language tables that will take place weekly. This includes former students and indigenous language learners who want to keep up and develop their skills, members of the at-large community who have taken community or independent learning classes, and people who have an interest in learning more about indigenous languages and people. This is not a language class. Attendees will practice language skills and build community.

Who is hosting this?  This Indigenous Language Table Program is developed in partnership with ENWEJIG Indigenous Language Advocates and the Illuminating Discovery Hub at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) to encourage an ongoing commitment of fostering collaborative efforts.   This ongoing commitment acknowledges that Indigenous people are not viewed as existing only in the past tense, but as a people who are living and breathing in the present tense.   Language revitalization efforts often suffer from lack of community and locations to host such events.  While the University has been offering indigenous language classes for over a decade, it has not seeded a space for the actual work of language revitalization to continue.  The Illuminating Discovery Hub acknowledges that this Indigenous Language Table Program aligns with their principles of AJEDI (antiracism, diversity, justice, equity, and inclusion) and will provide a space to accommodate this program at the Discovery Building. This partnership will provide a safe space for people to share their language learning journey, practice their skills, and find community. This actionable program will represent a deeper alignment and recognition toward the University’s Land Grant Acknowledgement.

Where is it at?  Using a public space on the first floor of the Discovery Building, the program will welcome anyone who has taken, or is taking, classes at the University, those who are curious about the language and indigenous culture, or any other member of the public interested in supporting the community. It is a setting where people can practice, meet new people, and share experiences. Various levels of proficiency among the languages will allow participants to learn from each other and help focus on daily conversational skills in a more relaxed atmosphere.

These language table events can evolve from simple greetings to conversations on food, from language basics to etiquette, and so much more. Beyond language learning, these language table events are some of the few places where undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and members of the community can interact with others.  It encourages support, acceptance, and normalization of using indigenous languages within the UW Madison community.  Most importantly, this program will serve as a beacon to indicate that the University community is supportive of the Indigenous cultures and is taking actionable steps to preserve the language knowledge, cultural practices, and building community.

Languages offered by the UW Madison this year include:  Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Oneida, Dakota, and Ojibwe.
For more information please contact:  Laura C. Red Eagle