North West Native Language School Celebrates 25 Years

Tayksíki lives with Virginia Beavert, also known as Tuxámshish, who is a Yakama Nation elder and one of the original founders of NILI. Beavert, who turned 100 in November and has helped shape the institute over the past 25 years, is a highly respected teacher and is fluent in her tribal language, Sahaptin. She currently sits on the advisory board of NILI.

“I feel very privileged to learn from Tuxámshish, but it’s also a great pressure because people always ask, ‘Do you know how lucky you are?'” Tayksíki said. “But she is really helpful and encouraging. She will tell me to stop focusing on the linguistics of the language and just speak it without thinking too much about it. I feel very lucky to live with her and learn from her.

Recognizing the impactful and important work that NILI has done over the past 25 years, the Roundhouse Foundation announced a grant this year that will support innovative new outreach and language programs for Oregon’s tribes, including conducting a needs assessment, trips to publicize NILI and more.

Erin Borla, Executive Director and Trustee of the Roundhouse Foundation, said in a statement that “supporting tribal nations is central to our mission at the Roundhouse Foundation, and language preservation is essential to sustaining the heritage and culture of indigenous cultures and tribal communities. .”

“NILI plays a vital role in this,” Borla continued, “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 deeply understand how to enrich their program.