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NMAI Library Receives a Gift from the Barona Band of Mission Indians

From left to right, Vice-Chairman Charles “Beaver” Curo, Councilwoman Beth Glasco, NMAI Librarian Lynne Altstatt, and Chairman Edwin “Thorpe” Romero.

On the morning of September 22nd in the Resource Center at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) a delegation from the Barona Band of Mission Indians presented the NMAI Librarian Lynne Altstatt with a book titled Barona inter-tribal dictionary: 'Iipay Tipaay Uumall, that is the first publication of the Barona Museum Press. It is a monumental work of 696 pages. The members of the delegation included Barona Chairman Edwin “Thorpe” Romero, Vice Chairman Charles “Beaver” Curo, Councilwoman Beth Glasco, and Government Affairs Director Sheilla Alvarez. The delegation was accompanied by Alexandra Harris, Editor, Education and Museum Programs at the NMAI. The book was beautifully presented in a wicker basket with leather handles and tied with a festive ribbon.

The dictionary was conceived by the Barona as an expansion of the 1988 Barona Tribal Dictionary which incorporates the speech of Barona Tribal members and also members of the broader community of which Barona is a part. The book was not produced to sell. Only one thousand copies of the titles were published and are being given to institutions where it will be of use to other indigenous peoples and scholars. An exhibition, More Than Words: 'Iipay Aa Tiipay Aa Uumall, The Barona Inter-Tribal Dictionary will open at the Barona Cultural Center and Museum on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. This exhibition illustrates the need to document this endangered language.

I found the following quote in an advertisement for the exhibition and I think it sums up the importance of the dictionary:

Language embodies the history and environment of people. Language reflects the world view. The Barona people suffered severe language loss through the mission system, boarding schools, urbanization, and assimilation projects. This exhibition features the Museum programs dedicated to cultural preservation and revitalization including the new Language Preservation Program. The exhibition traces the history of the Pai branch of the Yman languages, and gives comparisons on Hokan language in a worldwide context. It is fascinating to examine word origins and developments within the history of the Barona people. A dictionary is more than just words; it is culture.

—Lynne Altstatt

One Comment

  1. Anya M

    Yay! This is so wonderful. Congratulations!!

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