NILI faculty, staff and graduate students bring a wide range of backgrounds and expertise
NILI Faculty and Staff
Dr. Janne Underriner
Director, Northwest Indian Language Institute
Janne Underriner is the director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI). She is a linguist and holds a doctorate in linguistics from UO. She is a co-founder of the Northwest Indian Language Institute. Underriner first became active with language revitalization in 1996 when she was asked by the Klamath Tribes’ language program to assist Elders and apprentices in developing Klamath language curriculum and teaching materials for their community and schools. She is a curriculum, assessment and materials developer, teacher trainer, and language and program evaluator. She works with the Tribes and the State to develop Native language policy: the NW Indian Language Benchmarks (2000), the American Indian Language Teaching License (2001) and Native language policy in the Oregon University System (2011). She is a consultant to Oregon’s Department of Education. Her research interests include the relationship between language, culture and health; collaborative research models that strengthen Tribal communities and academic institutions; teaching and assessment strategies for Indigenous languages; and the relationship of pragmatics, word order and intonation.
Language Teaching Consultant
Judith Fernandes has taught language for most of her adult life. She has an interdisciplinary masters degree in immersion education from the University of Oregon. When she retired from teaching in the public school system, she joined the NILI team and began working with tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Her specialties are immersion language teaching, writing curriculum, oral assessment and teacher training.
Associate Director of Project Development and Coordination
Joana Jansen focuses on the overlap of Native American language documentation with language revitalization, and her work integrates research, teaching, and outreach. She is a linguist, teacher trainer, curriculum developer and project manager, and is the coordinator of NILI’s yearly Summer Institute. She works with speakers and learners of Native languages at the UO and beyond to support language documentation, description, archiving and teaching goals. She holds a doctorate in linguistics from UO. Research interests include language teacher education, collaborative research models for mutually beneficial work involving academic institutions and Tribal communities, and linguistic description, analysis and revitalization of the Ichishkíin/ Sahaptin language.
Dr. Virginia Beavert
Yakama Nation Elder, Sahaptin Language Teacher, University of Oregon
Since the 1970’s, Dr. Beavert has been a key figure in teaching and preserving her Native language. She has taught introductory through advanced classes to students of all ages.
She served as Scholar in Residence of Sahaptin Language and Culture at Heritage University in Toppenish Washington. She has taught Yakima Ichishkiin at the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon (UO) since 2000 and as an instructor of Ichishkiin at UO’s World Language Academy at UO since 2008. She holds a doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Oregon.
Julie Anderson has worked at the University of Oregon since 2010 and began work at NILI in Fall 2018 as a Program Assistant. She assists with managing finances and the budget, as well as general office support. Julie graduated from John Carroll University with a B.A. in English, and is interested in language and communication. She moved to Oregon in 2010 from Cleveland. She recently became a new mom in February of 2018 with her partner Joseph whom she has been with for over 5 years and who has two sons, 9 and 11 years old.
Associate Director of Educational Technology, Senior Instructor
Robert Elliott has worked as a classroom based instructor, online instructor and teacher trainer at the University of Oregon’s, American English Institute. He has contributed at NILI since 2009 as a technology specialist and instructional designer. He currently coordinates the NILI online education classes, and leads several youth outreach projects, training tribal High School students to develop digital language materials for younger learners.
Gabriela Perez Baez
Assistant Professor; Director, Language Revitalization Lab; Co-Director, National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages
Gabriela Pérez Báez is a faculty member of the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon. As part of her interests in and dedication to language revitalization, Gabriela directs UO’s Language Revitalization Lab and works closely with the Northwest Indian Language Institute. Gabriela is also the Co-Director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages alongside Daryl Baldwin. Gabriela’s research centers on linguistic diversity and strategies to sustain it. Within that broad umbrella, Gabriela has had two main interests. For some 15 years, she has worked to document, analyze and revitalize Zapotec languages in her native Mexico. From her work in Breath of Life, she has worked with community-based researchers in the United States to support archive-based research for language revitalization. Gabriela has published on language revitalization, migration and language vitality, and on the analysis of Zapotec and other Mesoamerican languages covering topics such as verbal inflection and derivation, semantic typology, and spatial language and cognition. She is the lead compiler of two dictionaries of Isthmus Zapotec within a participatory and interdisciplinary model. Gabriela has served as Curator of Linguistics at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and in its Recovering Voices initiative which she directed between 2014 and 2016. She holds a doctorate in linguistics from the University at Buffalo.
Ichishkíin Researcher and Curriculum Assistant (GE)
Regan Anderson has worked with NILI since 2009. She studies linguistics at the University of Oregon and has completed several years of Ichishkiin language classes. She is collaborating with members of the Yakama Nation on Ichishkiin curriculum development and language documentation, and assists Elder Virginia Beavert in organizing, archiving, and transcribing previous and current work. After graduating, Regan hopes to continue her work with the Ichishkiin language community.
Jaeci Hall is a second year Ph.D. student in the UO Linguistics department. She is currently working with a team to build an archive of language materials produced through NILI that can be easily accessible through a web-portal to language learners and community members. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Linfield College and a M.A. in Native American Linguistics from University of Arizona. She focuses her studies on the revitalization of her own heritage language, Tututni, an Athabaskan language from Southwest Oregon. She spends her spare time with her beautiful daughter and being musical in any form that she can from playing bassoon to singing Native songs.
Brittany Parham has worked at NILI for four years and is currently our administrative GE. She received her BA at UO where she studied Linguistics and Ichishkíin. She will soon graduate with her MA in language teaching and will continue on into the Linguistics doctoral program. She has been working with Dr. Virginia Beavert and learning Ichshkíin for 5 years. .
Jonathan Wright is a third year PhD student in the UO Linguistics department. He is currently working on developing NILI’s online digital archive and access center for Native language teaching materials so that the physical language teaching resources can be easily accessible to all of the Native communities that NILI collaborates with. He comes to UO having worked extensively in language documentation and revitalization in SE Asia and is focusing his studies at UO on the perception and production of suprasegmental features in second language acquisition.
NILI Research Associates
(Sixes, Joshua, Chetco, Lower Chinook) works on the Southwest Oregon Dene Languages Project team, as part of an NSF Documenting Endangered Languages grant (BCS-1562859). He is the primary point of contact for the project, coordinating outreach to heritage communities, linguists and collaborators. Carson’s work is also focused on transcription of audio materials and linguistic analysis. Alongside Jerome and Jaeci, he also maintains Nuu-da’ Mv-ne’, an online digital archive of Oregon Dene language resources. Carson is enrolled at the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and is happy to be doing work that brings Nuu-wee-ya’ out of the archives and back into the community. He holds a BA from the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon.
(Sixes, Joshua, Chetco, Lower Chinook) works on the the Southwest Oregon Dene Languages Project team, as part of an NSF Documenting Endangered Languages grant (BCS-1562859). Jerome specializes in database management and transcription of written and audio language materials. Jerome oversees Nuu-da’ Mv-ne’ Digital Archive. Jerome is active in phonological and orthographic analysis of archival materials, alongside Carson and Jaeci. Jerome works to bring archival materials to the descendants of language authorities, and is honored to do that work for his own community. He is enrolled at the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. Jerome holds a BA in Linguistics and a MA in Non-Profit Management from the University of Oregon