Northwest Indian Language Institute launches new initiative and celebrates 25 years

Roundhouse Foundation Grant Supports Next Chapter of Institute’s Collaborative Work with Indigenous Peoples to Strengthen Language Preservation

The Indigenous language landscape has moved into a new phase… Support from the Roundhouse Foundation has allowed us to create an action plan for language revitalization.

—Robert Elliott of the Northwest Indian Language Institute

BEND, OR, USA, June 1, 2022 / — The North West Indian Language Institute (NILI) received a grant from The Roundhouse Foundation, which supports innovative programs in rural Oregon communities, to launch an initiative to analyze and rethink the needs that NILI will meet as the organization moves into the future. Now in its 25th year, NILI will explore how language preservation needs have evolved among tribal nations and language revitalization practitioners since the organization’s inception. During the scan, which will launch this summer and span approximately 15 months, NILI leadership will engage in conversations with language leaders from Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes, tribal partners across the Pacific Northwest, as well as existing partners and founding members.

“After 25 years, the Indigenous language landscape has moved into a new phase, and our in-depth analysis will help us strengthen relationships as well as assess the critical needs that Indigenous communities now have when it comes to preserving this important part of their culture and history,” said Robert Elliott of NILI. “We expect that we will find an increased openness to the use of technology to support language learning and a renewed focus on the holistic benefits of youth participation in Indigenous language programs. The support of The Roundhouse Foundation has allowed us to engage even more deeply with these communities and create an action plan for language revitalization for the next 25 years.

The new Roundhouse Foundation grant will allow NILI to ideally complete the needs analysis, support and evaluate the work extensively, and make in-person visits to tribal partners throughout Oregon and build relationships in a culturally appropriate way. In addition to gathering information in person, NILI will use online tools to gather feedback from former program participants and their colleagues outside of the Pacific Northwest. The analysis will culminate in the winter of 2023 with a final report that will serve as a roadmap for the next phase of the Institute.

“Supporting tribal nations is core to our mission at The Roundhouse Foundation, and language preservation is essential to sustaining the heritage and culture of Indigenous cultures and tribal communities,” said Erin Borla, executive director and trustee of the Roundhouse Foundation. “NILI plays a vital role in this and as they enter the next phase of their organization, we are pleased to support their efforts to connect authentically with the tribal communities they serve so that they can understand in depth how to improve their program.”

NILI will also hold its annual Summer Institute online this year due to continued pandemic concerns and to protect alumni and invaluable knowledge holders. With three course offerings for Indigenous language teachers and learners to choose from, the summer institute runs from June 21 to July 1, 2022. Additionally, there are two post-summer institute courses running take place from July 11 to August 26. For more information on summer offers and registration visit the NILI website:

About the North West Indian Language Institute
Since 1997, the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) has been involved in collaborative, community-focused partnerships with Native American language revitalization practitioners throughout Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, the United States and beyond. In addition to its annual two-week summer language institute, NILI is involved throughout the year in a number of outreach projects to support tribal language efforts, such as curriculum development, assessment training, strategic language planning and materials development. On the University of Oregon campus, NILI supports Indigenous languages ​​and language revitalization-related courses, and organizes guest lectures and public presentations on language revitalization and other related projects. NILI provides opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous, undergraduate and graduate students to work on language revitalization projects, helping to train the next generation of language revitalization advocates and teachers.

About the Roundhouse Foundation
The Roundhouse Foundation is a private family foundation, based in Sisters, Oregon since 2002. The Foundation believes that solutions to the unique challenges of rural Oregon communities can be found through creative thinking and problem solving, innovation and collaboration. We partner with community organizations to develop, implement, and sustain creative, place-based approaches and programs that strengthen and celebrate rural Oregon. In addition to providing grantmaking services to rural communities and tribal areas in Oregon, the Roundhouse Foundation operates the Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts and Agriculture (PMRCAA) in Sisters. For more information on the Foundation or PMRCAA please visit

Cathy Carroll
The Roundhouse Foundation
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