The answer is yes. This document can play a critical role in the revitalization of Tututni. Tututni is a language that is currently undergoing a revival. It is part of what is referred to as the Southwestern Oregon Athabascan Languages (SWOAL) including Tututni, Chetco, Coquille, Umpqua, Galice, Applegate, Chasta Costa. This particular document was created over 130 years ago by James Owen Dorsey (1848-1895) and is archived at the National Anthropological Archives (NAA) of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). This roughly 200-page manuscript documents a wide range of vocabulary, notes, and observations made by Dorsey. From this document, present day learners of Tututni can collect invaluable information about the structure of the language, which can then be used to prepare materials to be used by future language learners. Tututni is one of the 14 languages represented this year at the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages held in Washington, D.C. from June 1-12.
For the past week Breath of Life 2015 participants have been carefully analyzing archival documents, sound recordings and collections in the NAA, NMNH as well as the National Museum of the American Indian and the Library of Congress. Their results will be shared among their community when they return home after the intensive workshop at the end of this week.