Our Team

The project team includes a core team and an advisory board that brings together members of the Cherokee Nation, archivists, and linguists with deep knowledge of indigenous languages. We also have teams of librarians and teachers and translation specialists from the Cherokee Nation.

Core Team

Ellen Cushman is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, with research and publications focusing on literacy studies, decolonizing approaches to digital archive development, and language perseverance. A former member of the Cherokee Nation Sequoyah Commission, she has worked with the Cherokee Nation’s CoPartners Johnson-O’Malley Program in developing educational resources. Her first-hand understanding of the language learning process and the social and cultural conditions in which language teaching and learning occur drives the project and ensures that our framework is shaped and animated at its core by the needs of the Cherokee nations.

Jeffrey Bourns is the Project Linguist and an Affiliate Research Scientist in Linguistics at Northeastern University. His current research focuses on Cherokee and Iroquoian linguistics, and he has overseen collection and modeling of Cherokee language datasets and linguistic annotation of our collection. He also provides linguistic training to our contributors to support transcription, annotation, and digital publication of original Cherokee language texts.

Aparna Dutta is a linguist on the DAILP team, working primarily with the transcription, translation, and annotation of original Cherokee manuscripts into an online format. She joined the DAILP team in the spring of 2020 and continues to focus on working directly with language data. Aparna is interested in natural language processing with low-resource languages, and the applications of computational linguistics on language documentation and revitalization.

Julia Flanders is the Director of the Digital Scholarship Group (DSG) at the Northeastern University Library and a Professor of Practice in the Department of English.She has extensive experience with design, development, and long-term sustainability for large-scale digital projects, and her recent work has also given her a deep understanding of the imperatives and challenges of working towards decolonial approaches to digital archives and community-led development processes. Her expertise in large-scale project management and her familiarity with modeling complex textual data prove invaluable to the design of the data representation of transcription and translation data.

Taylor Snead builds the DAILP website and manages technical infrastructure for the project. They have extensive software engineering experience and are passionate about free software, bringing that expertise to language documentation. Taylor is especially interested in integrating a people-first understanding of cultural practices into digital philology and linguistics. They started working with DAILP in Spring 2020, analyzing translated Cherokee manuscripts.

Naomi Trevino has been with DAILP for a year, annotating manuscripts and compiling data from descriptive resources. She is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to sociolinguistics, phonetics, decolonial theory, and queer/trans theory. She hopes to pursue a PhD in Sociolinguistics to investigate how marginalized languages are used and how they can be leveled with dominant forms of languages.

Henry Volchonok started working with DAILP earlier this year as the website Content Writer and Editor. His interest in applied linguistics led him to DAILP, where he has been focusing on updating our website and the way we present our collections, as well as redeveloping our brand image.

Advisory Board

Ernestine Berry is the Director of the John Hair Cultural Center and Museum: the central holding place for all history and cultural objects for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. Under her leadership, the museum has received grants from IMLS and Oklahoma Department of Libraries for preserving language materials and collections and forwarding language preservation. She has organized and managed a team of Cherokee translators.

Roy Boney, Jr. is the Manager of the Cherokee Language Program and has been working for the past fifteen years on Cherokee language revitalization and integration of Cherokee into current technology platforms. As a member of our Advisory Board, he notes how best to integrate our tools and training into existing language learning programs, and how to design systems and outreach so that they correspond to the needs and opportunities in the community.

Brian Carpenter is the Curator of Native American Materials at the American Philosophical Society, where he has worked with more than fifty Native communities throughout North America to engage their participation in developing the policies and practices for the handling of indigenous materials. As a member of our Advisory Board, his expertise in working with indigenous materials and in building relationships of reciprocity with Native nations is crucial.

Lisa Conathan is the Head of Special Collections at the Williams College Library. She has worked with Cherokee speakers and communities and has collaborated with tribal leaders to identify sacred and medical texts from archival holdings. As a member of our Advisory Board, her joint expertise in linguistics and archives is crucial in bridging these two key aspects of the project.

Eva Garroutte is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee nation and is currently a Research Professor of Sociology at Boston College. A second-language learner, she has special interest in the translation of historical, Cherokee-language documents and their use in teaching. Her background related to Native American language, culture, identity, and health have facilitated past collaboration with Cherokee Nation Health Services on several federally-funded projects.

Clara Proctor is a fluent Cherokee speaker, reader, and writer and works in the Eastern Oklahoma District Library System as a librarian clerk. Her translations of Cherokee language manuscripts have been supported by two IMLS grants.

John Ross is a Translator Specialist with the Cherokee Nation Language Program. He is a fullblood Cherokee and is bi-literate in the Cherokee language, as well as a Certified Cherokee Language Instructor. In 2014, he was named a National Treasure in the Cherokee Language by the Cherokee Nation. As a member of our Advisory Board and our team of language experts, he brings a depth of knowledge and teaching expertise to the project’s design.

Hiroto Uchihara is an Assistant Research Professor in the Instituto de Investigaciones Filologicas at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. He has contributed greatly to our lexical data, and his book, Tone and Accent in Oklahoma Cherokee, is a crucial resource for our project. As a member of our Advisory Board, his expertise with Cherokee linguistics is essential in ensuring the quality of our linguistic data and approaches.

Librarians

Rob Chavez is the Senior Digital Scholarship Group Developer in the Digital Infrastructures department of the Northeastern University Library. He joined Northeastern in February 2020, and has been working with our project ever since. Previously, Rob had been a Senior Content Solutions Architect at the MA Medical Society.

David Cliff is the Senior Digital Library Developer in Library Technology Services at the Northeastern University Library. His expertise in all levels of data-driven web application development and architectures is of value to this project as we expand the Charon system to accommodate the complexities of Linguistic Linked Open Data, community-driven workflows, and language learning and translation interfaces.

Greg McClellan is the Digital Scholarship Programmer/Analyst in the Library Technology Services group at the Northeastern University Library. He has extensive experience as a systems librarian and developer as well as with open-source software development projects. With his expertise, he is responsible for integrating IIIF with our core system components to support the development of transcription, translation, and language learning features.

George Miles is the Curator of the Western Americana Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. His responsibilities include acquisition and supervision of materials, as well as education about them.

Rose Miron is the Director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library. Her research explores Indigenous interventions in public history within the Northeast and the Great Lakes regions and American Indian nationalism and activism in the twentieth century. She is working on a manuscript that explores how Native people use archives to change the way Indigenous history is accessed and produced.

Patrick Murray-John is the Associate Director for Systems at the Digital Scholarship Group (DSG). At DSG, he is responsible for leading the development of CERES, the interface on which we build our language learning tools, and he brings extensive expertise in open-source software development, user interface, and experience design. For DAILP, he leads enhancements to CERES and contributes to interface work on transcription and translation tools.

Teachers

Wade Blevins has worked at the Cherokee Nation for over a decade in the Johnson O’Malley Program teaching youths, teens, and their teachers, about Cherokee language and culture and is currently appointed as a language technology specialist. In 2019, he was appointed to the Oklahoma State Department of Education World Languages Other Than English Advisory Team. He speaks, reads, and writes in the Cherokee language.

Patrick Del Percio is a Cherokee Language Instructor at University of Oklahoma. He learned Cherokee in online classes and visiting within the Nation, and became fluent in reading, writing, and speaking at a young age. He is certified to teach the language. Before joining the University of Oklahoma he worked for four years as a program coordinator for NCAIS at the Newberry library. He also worked as a contract translator for the Cherokee Nation.

Ben Frey is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and his research interests center on sociolinguistics, with an emphasis on language shift as a motivation for language revitalization. His current project is a book manuscript on the process of language shift analyzed through the lens of economics, politics, religion, and race.

Eva Garroutte is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee nation and is currently a Research Professor of Sociology at Boston College. A second-language learner, she has special interest in the translation of historical, Cherokee-language documents and their use in teaching. Her background related to Native American language, culture, identity, and health have facilitated past collaboration with Cherokee Nation Health Services on several federally-funded projects.

Mary ᎺᎵ Rae has volunteered for about 5 years in the Cherokee Nation’s online Cherokee class as virtual and “unofficial teaching assistant” to master speaker Ed Fields. She has earned the credential from Cherokee Nation that certifies her as able to do community language teaching. Her pronunciation and listening comprehension has been praised by her teachers as “near perfect.” She is fluent with the Cherokee syllabary.

Translation Specialists

Marlene Glass Ballard is a citizen of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and is fluent in Cherokee. She ran for Treasurer in the 2020 UKB Tribal Council Elections.

Oleta Pritchett is an elder in the Cherokee Nation. She is a fluent Cherokee speaker and is literate in the syllabary.

Clara Proctor is a fluent Cherokee speaker, reader, and writer and works in the Eastern Oklahoma District Library System as a librarian clerk. Her translations of Cherokee language manuscripts have been supported by two IMLS grants.

John Ross is a Translator Specialist with the Cherokee Nation Language Program. He is a fullblood Cherokee and is bi-literate in the Cherokee language, as well as a Certified Cherokee Language Instructor. In 2014, he was named a National Treasure in the Cherokee Language by the Cherokee Nation. As a member of our Advisory Board and our team of language experts, he brings a depth of knowledge and teaching expertise to the project’s design.

Previous Members

Joel Dunham is a Software Developer at Artefactual Systems, Inc. who works on linguistic data management software and digital preservation software. He also works at Concordia University where he builds and maintains the Online Linguistic Database (OLD), an open-source software application that facilitates the collaborative management, analysis, and sharing of linguistic data.

Brad Montgomery-Anderson is an Assistant Professor of English at Colorado Mesa University in Colorado. His research focuses on Cherokee language, Mayan languages, and language revitalization. His recent book, the Cherokee Reference Grammar, won the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award for 2017.