Phineas Kelly

Grant Type

Engaged Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Wyoming, U. of

Grant number

Gr. ERG-13

Approve Date

February 4, 2022

Project Title

Kelly, Phineas (Wyoming, U. of) "Rapa Nui Language Revitalization and Digital Repatriation"

The contamination of colonial ideologies dooms indigenous language conservation efforts to failure. Increasingly accessible developments in technology, however, have already begun to decolonize and democratize such undertakings. All over the globe, native peoples have begun to sidestep Western paradigms and equip themselves with self-defined ways of pursuing goals in education and socialization. What combination of tools will empower Polynesians to document, reappropriate and transmit both their language and the cultural patrimony embedded therein? To answer this question, my Rapa Nui collaborators and I propose specific ways for the people of Easter Island to repatriate their heritage and revitalize their language using the digital representation of physical objects, geographic locations, personal histories, and collected ethnographies. Developed over years of iterative collaboration between the author his Rapa Nui family, community and members of the Northern Arapaho tribe this project explores new methods and contexts for language documentation and revitalization that are culturally specific in that physical locations and repatriated objects of indigeous cultural heritage become the “classroom” in which language is both documented through elicitation and ultimately learned. The methodologies that our research generates will provide working models for those indigenous peoples engaged in the same struggles.