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3. Appeals

Mayangna/Sumu Girls Project
Elena Benedicto (benedicto(at) writes:

What this is about?

I've been working with the Sumu communities in Nicaragua (and Honduras) for one and a half years now. And one of the circumstances I've been observing is that the percentage of girls going to secondary school was minimal (children get primary school in their communities, then they have to go to the main mestizo town in the area). Living conditions (such as lack of food and housing) are hard for everyone in the mestizo town, boys and girls alike. But, given the scarcity of resources, a family may prefer to invest in a boy than in a girl.So, what I wanted to do was to provide those girls with the opportunity to go to secondary school: a place to live in the mestizo town and essential resources, such as food, clothing (uniforms are mandatory in Nicaragua), and school supplies.

The project I have in mind is to form a Fund that provides grants for the secondary education of Sumu girls.

I got quite a nice number of responses to my previous memo, so I think we can do it!

Housing arrangement

There are two basic alternatives for them:

1. They could live in the House of the Sumu Woman in Rosita (the mestizo town).
That's the best option, I think --mainly, because they will have supervision and will keep close cultural ties with their communities.

2. They can stay in private homes in Rosita.
Same arrangement as when a foreign student comes here and lives with a family... Supervision from the people in the Sumu branch of PEBI (Program in Bilingual Education) can be arranged, so that the cultural ties will be maintained.

How much $$...

People can participate in different ways: from sponsoring (which includes some kind of personal contact and some commitment) to a one-time contribution (for 'stuff', such as school supplies, library materials, personal time for some project...).Depending on your cash flow and preferences, I calculated some alternatives:

* if you sponsor a girl on your own, $536/year or $44.70 /per month

* if you cosponsor a girl with:
-one other person,
$22.34 /per month
-two other people,
-three other people,
-four other people,
$ 9.00

Where to send your $$**

So that your contributions are tax-deductible, we need an official non-profit organization. And I think our best option now is GLSA : it is non-profit and it is a symbol of UMass-Linguistics! I talked to GLSA's manager, Kiyomi Kusumoto, who agreed that GLSA be our 'financial arm'.So, make your checks payable to GLSA, and write *Sumu Girls Project* on them. Money can be collected throughout the year and then be sent in January [that's the beginning of the academic year there] to CIDCA, a Research Center for the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua that, besides conducting research on cultural and scientific issues related to the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (the region where the Sumu live), also manages cooperation projects with international organizations. CIDCA will, then, make the monthly payments to Rosita.

To ensure the continuity and smooth running of the project, I would propose the following organization:

- Pascasio Lopez, director of PEBI-Sumu ( Program on Bilingual Education)
-- supervise organization in Rosita;
- Martha Lacayo, Projects Director, or Francisco Picado, Administrative Director, from CIDCA -- economic matters in Nicaragua;
- GLSA manager, Kiyomi Kusumoto,
-- economic matters in US;
- US-Nicaragua Coordinator, Elena Benedicto,
-- oversee organization in Nicaragua, US.

What next...?

Let me know what you decide to do... What I need to know now (that is, before the end of the summer) is how many grants we can offer for next year (beginning Jan.1997), so they can begin the organization in Rosita. Contact me at benedicto(at) Seeking Books/Articles on African Languages/Linguistics

QUESTION: Are there linguists out there--especially Africanists--who may be approaching retirement (or who have already retired), who would be interested in donating personal books or libraries to us for NEGST (Nairobi Evangelical Grad. School of Theology)? The books would find a good home with us here and be put to good use! We could probably pay costs of transportation. We may even be able to "buy" some special materials.

We are trying to create a sufficient resource base for the NEGST programme to become a viable archive of (African) language and linguistic materials. This will serve African national translators-in-training in the MA program, as well as serving as a resource base in Africa for trained national translators and SIL language teams. We have already been able to acquire a good range of basic linguistic books for the degree training programmes in Nairobi and are very appreciative of those who enabled us to do that, but we now need to emphasize the graduate library at NEGST, hoping specifically to establish a growing range of African linguistic materials. The field is enormous and specialist materials soon go out of print.



Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated!

Please contact:
Ronnie Sim, SIL Africa Group - P.O. Box 44456 - Nairobi, KENYA
or e-mail: Ronnie_Sim(at)

Resources for Taino Language Project?
via list NAT-LANG
Original Sender: torresp(at) (Chief Peter Guanikeyu Torres)

We the Taino Indian people of the Caribbean and Florida have started a Language project to reconstruct our language after a 500 year Spanish, English and French colonialism of our people. We need to locate resources and people to help us with this new Indigenous Language project. I am sure that many Native Americans have gone through this so called problem of Euro lingustic colonialism.

… Our people of the Timucua, Guacara and Calusa, Taino Arawakan Caribbean & Florida dialect has never been truly studied. The Taino Indian people of Bimini (Florida) were the first people of Bimini. The Muscogean group migrated down fron up north into what is known today with the colonial name of Florida. Our Nation is now struggling to retain our Indigenous national heritage rights. Many prejudice the Taino people as not being Native American, they asume that we are only from the Caribbean Islands. Maybe because of the historical fact that we lost our Bimini terretory homelands to the Spanish colonials and Later on, to the United States Government. Did you ever hear the term "Spanish Indians of Florida"? This is the kind of past historical trash that the Europeans created. They have falsely created a image upon the Taino people of Bimini.

Fraternally yours
Chief Peter Guanikeyu Torres
The Taino Inter-Tribal Council Inc.
NJ Jatibonuco Tribe
Taino Nation Forum,
THE NJ COUNCIL OFFICE Tel: 609-825-7776
FAX & TAINO BBS: 609-825-7922
We Are Still Here! Taino Indigenous Nation of the Caribbean & Florida

Research on Finno-Ugrian in Danger?

On Wed, 17 Apr 1996, Johanna Laakso, University of Helsinki, Department of Finno-Ugrian Studies wrote to the Endangered-Languages-L:

The Helsinki University Faculty of Arts plans to change the professorship of Finno-Ugrian language studies to a five-year, freely movable professor's office. This could mean abolishing the professor's office of Finno-Ugrian language studies (the only one in Helsinki, one of the two similar tenures in Finland) after five years.

and requested interventions in their favour. She now send the following update on the situation:

In fact, the issue hasbeen resolved at least partially: we received many expressions of support, and the Faculty of Arts decided not to abolish (or, as they chose to put it, "demote") the professorship of Finno-Ugrian languages. Instead - because they obviously were compelled to choose one of the professorships as a victim: in our university, somebody high up has decided to create more and more freely movable professorships - one of the two Associate Professor's posts in the Dept. of Finnish literature was sacrificed. (This, too, maybe tells us something about how much our national roots are respected...)

However, the battle is not completely over. The Dean - who, in fact, was furious about our public appeals ("disturbing the internal decision-making and autonomy of our University") - still wants to go on discussing the matter, and after five years (when the Department of Finnish literature would be losing their ass. professorship), our other professorship will be the target of similar plans: the Professor of Finnic languages (= languages closely related to Finnish, e.g. Estonian and Karelian) will retire, and now his post will be in danger. Needless to say that this, too, would be disastrous. Outside Helsinki (and Tartu in Estonia) there is no professorship devoted to the Finnic languages. However, the same arguments that we used in defending the Finno-Ugrian chair, apply here, too: 1) in this historical situation, when our linguists at last have access to speakers and materials in the former Soviet Union, we should rather multiply our efforts and resources; 2) of the languages in question, some will be extinct in a few years and need exploring NOW (in the Finnic subgroup, Votian and probably Livonian), 3) and some need and expect our support in developing and widening their use in education, communication, literature and official life (Karelian and, to some extent, Vepsian).

This means that some time in the future, probably a little less than five years from now, we will be needing international support again... Let's keep in touch, and - once again - thank you for your interest!

Johanna Laakso Johanna.Laakso(at)Helsinki.FI
University of Helsinki, Dept FinnoUgrian Studies
Jouhekas hyvä hevonen, paha nainen hapsillinen.