Early in November the WFD met in Ål, Norway. Their topic this year was “Sign Languages as Endangered Languages”. The conference pulled from many different professions (academics, language policy experts, representatives from deaf associations, and deaf community members) and brought to light many issues that affect sign languages worldwide. The link below will take you to their page where they have posted both a written and a signed summary.
View the summary here
In this video clip: James Wooden Legs, who is both fluent in Plains Indian Sign Language and American Sign Language, gives a short self-introduction. He code-switches between PISL and ASL, so that viewers (non-PISL signers) can understand his PISL utterances – thus, skillfully providing his own translations. In the near future we will be posting a few more examples including more PISL signing.
James Wooden Legs (Northern Cheyenne) is a Deaf Native signer of Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL). He learned PISL natively from his family growing up on the N. Cheyenne [Tse’tsehestahese] reservation in southeastern Montana. Later, James attended the Montana School for the Deaf and learned ASL. He is a renowned presenter and involved in the revitalization of PISL and an active member of Deaf and American Indian communities. He currently lives in Albuquerque, NM. Recently, James gave a major presentation at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester, NY.
In this clip, Tommy Rockroads [N. Cheyenne/Tse’tsehestahese], a fluent PISL user, explains why he learned PISL and why he believes it is important to keep the language alive. Jeffrey Davis (PISL documentation project, PI) interprets his words into ASL. Tommy is also fluent in spoken Cheyenne and English, but he does not know ASL. Soon, we will post a few sample clips of Tommy signing PISL. Stay tuned!
This is a video of a recounting of The Battle of the Little Bighorn. It is presented simultaneously in three languages: English (Francis Takes Enemy), American Sign Language (Lin Marksbury), Plains Indian Sign Language (Ron Garritson). The full video will be available soon.