Colloquium: Teresa McCarty

Event Date: 

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 3:30pm

Event Location: 

  • South Hall 3605

Speaker: Teresa McCarty (University of California Los Angeles)

Topic: Beyond Endangerment: Indigenous Language Reclamation, Self-Determination, and Well-Being

Reception: All are invited to a reception following the talk

Beyond Endangerment: Indigenous Language Reclamation, Self-Determination, and Well-Being


Teresa L. McCarty

University of California, Los Angeles



This presentation explores recent research and practice in Indigenous language reclamation, focusing on North America and the Pacific and developing themes of holism, relationality, and self-determination. The perspective taken is that community-driven language reclamation is a sociocultural process that goes “beyond endangerment” in its intentionality and implications for Indigenous well-being and decolonization. Language revitalization as a well-being strategy has been posited as a new model (Grenoble, 2017). At the same time, the relationship between language sustainability, well-being, and self-determination/decolonization has long been recognized by Indigenous peoples (Goodyear-Ka‘?pua, 2013; Grenoble & Olsen, Puju, 2014; Hermes & Kawai‘ae‘e, 2014; Perley, 2011; White, 2015). In this presentation I consider the ways in which this “new/old” paradigm both extends and complicates theoretical models of (1) language endangerment and shift (Fishman, 1991, 2001), (2) translanguaging (García, 2009; Garcia & Li Wei, 2014), and (3) culturally sustaining pedagogies (Paris & Alim, 2014, 2017). Examining selected cases, I highlight the theoretical and praxis-oriented potential of critical, collaborative, Indigenous community-based projects that combine language documentation, revitalization, and education.


Teresa L. McCarty is the GF Kneller Chair in Education and Anthropology, and Core Faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Her research, teaching, and outreach focus on Indigenous education, language policy and revitalization, and ethnographic studies of education in and out of schools. In 2010 she received the George and Louise Spindler Award from the American Anthropological Association for lifetime contributions to educational anthropology. Her current research, funded by the Spencer Foundation, is a U.S.-wide study of Indigenous-language immersion schooling.