In December 2011, tribal officials from the Cow Creek Tribe of Umpqua Indians approached UO linguistics faculty member Scott DeLancey with a request for help restoring one of their Tribal languages, Takelma. The Takelma language had been documented in the early 1900s by linguists and anthropologists, but the language was not actively being used by the tribe. The tribe then partnered with NILI to begin the long process of restoring the language.
One of the first decisions was choosing what orthography to use in order to best represent the language. NILI and the Natural Resources Department used the Takelma documentation available to help develop a lexicon, adapt stories, and create songs for learning Takelma. Joana Jansen and Rhonda Richardson participated in an AICLS (Advocates for Indigenous California Survival) Breath of Life workshop to further explore available resources. NILI also helped develop a curriculum for teaching an introductory language class. One Cow Creek undergraduate student studying at the UO was sponsored by the Tribe and was able to take part in the restoration project.