Training Modules

National Breath of Life Training Modules

The Native American philology model of the National BoL is built around three training modules designed to respond to different stages of archives-based revitalization work. 

  • Module 1 training assists Community Researchers with identifying and locating materials on their languages in archives and introduces them to basic notions in linguistics. 
  • Module 2 training assists Community Researchers on the organization of digital archival materials utilizing the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA) software suite. 
  • Module 3 training is for advanced archival development and implementation into community language programs.


These training modules are offered throughannual and biennial workshops, self-paced individualized training, instructional videos, one-on-one consultation, and apprenticeships when funding allows. 

Module 1 Training

National BoL Module 1 training assists tribal communities in accessing the extensive archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives (NAA) of the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Library of Congress and in using them for language revitalization. During the two-week hands-on workshop, community members are partnered with a trained linguist, and together navigate Smithsonian and Library of Congress archives and collections, locate and acquire documents, interpret writing systems, and transform archival materials into practical lessons for language learning. Participants will also receive training in the fundamentals of linguistics and the use of archival documentation. National BoL workshops in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 utilized this model.

StatusPlease note that there are currently no planned National Breath of Life module 1 workshops.

Module 2 Training

National BoL Module 2 training is designed to build capacity around advanced archives-based research for language revitalization. Module 2 training focuses on the management of digital archival collections and advanced linguistic analysis of data for language revitalization to community researchers who already possess archival materials.

The training centers on the use of the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA), a freely available software suite that allows for the organization, storage and retrieval of digital copies of linguistic archival materials. ILDA directly links independent data derived from linguistic analysis to the original manuscript pages. Its powerful search function allows for rapid recall of language data and the in-depth linguistic analysis required for the reconstruction of a highly endangered or sleeping language. The 2019 and 2021 National BoL workshops utilized this model.

StatusThe 2021 workshop will be held August 9-13, 2021 at the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon. 

Module 3 Training

National BoL Module 3 training the next step in the development of the Native American Philology model. This module is being designed to meet the needs of advanced archival management and community implementation of the entire ILDA suite for language programming. National BoL recognizes that each community’s revitalization efforts are unique and variable. Therefore, implementation of the archive will be self-paced and customized to meet the community's needs. Module 3 also requires a level of ‘readiness’, which means that there must be a level of community commitment and resources to manage the archive. This can take years to develop and so Module 3 training will likely be a later phase training for many National BoL participants.

StatusStill in development.