(Wind River Reservation, WY) – “It’s gonna just blow everybody away, that’s what I think,” said Eastern Shoshone Tribal Elder Reba Teran. “It’s gonna be so massive; they’ll be shocked at how much information we really have, and that our language is beautiful and descriptive.”
Teran, a Shoshone Language Specialist, is one of 13 fellows selected for the 2021 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship cohort.
During her fellowship, she plans to complete her life’s work – creating a Shoshone language database.
“I’m glad that I got chosen because our language needs to be saved,” she said. “And after 20 years of work I’m gonna see it to the end. Get it done. That’s what keeps me going.”
The database includes finalizing and registering the Eastern Shoshone font and completing an Eastern Shoshone dictionary. In addition, 8,000 compromised audio files will be re-recorded.
Since 2002, Teran along with her older sister Beatrice Haukaas and the late Manford Guina, Sr. recorded 20,688 audio files of words. These language audio files will be converted to MP3 files and stored for safekeeping, future distribution, and public access.
“It’s my hope that the young people, the children, will be able to learn our language, for the first time,” she said.
Teran shared some examples of her work, which can be viewed below.