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Keeping Language Alive with a Fundraising Project

There are no fluent speakers of the Wiyot Tribe’s language alive today. According to the tribe’s Web site, a great deal of language documentation has been compiled, from written samples dating from the late 1800s, to audio recordings from the 1960s. Listen to some of those audio recordings online, and read more about the Wiyot language and culture.

In collaboration with Lynnika Butler, the Language Manager of the Wiyot Tribe, two VISTA members serving the Table Bluff Reservation in Humboldt County, CA have started a fundraiser for the local Boys & Girls Club that also supports efforts to preserve the Wiyot language. The VISTA members are selling locally roasted, organic coffee from Humboldt Bay Coffee Company in mugs printed with the word siswelhi, the Wiyot word for coffee. Interested in purchasing a siswelhi mug for yourself? Call the main number on the Wiyot Tribe’s website and ask for VISTA member Kaitlin Carney. Kaitlin hopes other staff and volunteers serving at Native Boys & Girls Clubs will organize similar fundraisers after reading this article. She said, “It was so easy to get this started. Humboldt Bay Coffee Company helps lots of organizations within the area to start small fundraisers.”

All of the proceeds from the sales go to benefit activities for youth and Elders on the Table Bluff Reservation. The Boys & Girls Club site there is in progress while Kaitlin and a co-VISTA member help the tribe through the process of establishing an official Club.

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