Team

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

Core Team

Founder and project leader of DAILP, 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 and the Johnson-O’Malley Program in developing educational resources. Her research and experience with the social and cultural conditions in which Cherokee language teaching and learning occur drives DAILP’s pilot project of Cherokee manuscript translation. She leads the DAILP team to ensure that our framework is shaped and animated at its core by the needs of the indigenous peoples with whom the team works.

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 is the Lead Computational Linguist and UX Designer for DAILP. They manage the technical team and oversee the digital infrastructure for the project. Taylor is also Software Engineer at Outschool. 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.

Naomi Trevino is the Project Sociolinguist and Assistant Project Manager for DAILP. Her research interests focus on language use and power dynamics, and her current work uses sociolinguistic methods to center Cherokee language and knowledge in Cherokee communities.

Henry Volchonok is the project’s Web Content Developer and Applied Linguist. He has been focusing on redeveloping our brand image and updating the way we present and integrate our collections with incoming curricular materials. In the future, he hopes to continue working on applied linguistics, specifically in either community-based or forensic contexts.

Hazelyn Aroian is DAILP’s Web Content Developer for the Cherokees Writing the Keetoowah Way digital edition project. She also contributes to maintenance of the main DAILP website with experience in WordPress and graphic design.

Kush Patel is a Web Content Developer for DAILP. He focuses on developing and improving the user interface for the main DAILP website. Kush is majoring in Computer Science and Business Administration and is hoping to pursue a career in project management.

Shashwat Patel is an Interdisciplinary Software Engineer with DAILP. He works mainly on the website’s interface and presentation of various information. He enjoys using software and code to both represent and break down words. In the future he wants to continue working with software development, especially in mobile or web applications. He is also interested in economics.

Jackie Lincroft is a Research Assistant/Software Engineer working on the main DAILP website. She is majoring in Computer Science and Linguistics and loves incorporating technical skills with interdisciplinary research, working with data, and thinking about how language can be represented digitally.

Victor Hugo Mendevil began working with DAILP in Summer 2022 as a Web Content Writer and Editor, primarily focusing on storytelling, communications, and transparency on DAILP’s latest ventures and accomplishments, and is a graduate student in Northeastern University’s Master of Arts in English program in Boston. Originally from Seattle, Victor is a direct descendant of the Siksika people with family hailing from the Blackfeet Nation of Montana. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Hofstra University and a BA in English Language, Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Washington. Victor plans to pursue a PhD in English with research interests pertaining to Indigenous literature, disability studies, and creative writing. He looks forward to integrating his work at DAILP with both professional and personal goals relating to his heritage.

Chanmi Oh is an Interdisciplinary Software Engineer with DAILP as well as a Computer Science and Cognitive Science student looking to pursue human-computer interaction design. She is interested in creating user-friendly technology and hopes to contribute to DAILP’s front-end interfaces. Chanmi is excited to be a part of DAILP and support representation of indigenous communities with accessibility in mind!

Gibby Free works primarily on the transcription, translation, and annotation of Cherokee language data. She has previously completed research related to textual analysis tools, and is interested in research related to text classification and summarization. Outside of DAILP, Gibby is a software engineer, and enjoys empowering marginalized communities by connecting them with powerful technical tools.

Melissa Torres works on the initial linguistic annotation for DAILP, contributing to the morphemic segmentation and glossing of Cherokee words. She is a combined Psychology and Linguistics major and hopes to pursue a career in either speech pathology or social work.

Advisory Board

Ernestine Berry, a former public school teacher and administrator, is an enrolled United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) tribal member. She is also a former tribally-elected Council Secretary. Ernestine is the Director of the John Hair Cultural Center & Museum (JHCCM) which also houses the tribal archives and the research library. In 2016, the JHCCM initiated an Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-supported project to find, retrieve, and translate syllabary papers/documents into English. The resulting products of this effort (more than 300 pages) are on display at the JHCCM “Missing Pieces” Exhibit and available for public review. The current Keetoowah Language Revitalization Project, supported by IMLS began in 2020 is a community-based language project.

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 a 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, a former public school teacher, is an enrolled United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) tribal member. As a native first-language speaker, Clara is both fluent and literate in the Keetoowah Cherokee language and is a UKB certified language instructor. She received the 2018 UKB Tradition Keepers Award for her language expertise and for her activities in sharing the language with others. She was a translator on the 2016 Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-supported, John Hair Cultural Center Missing Pieces Project to find, retrieve, and translate syllabary papers/documents into English. Clara currently works for the Eastern Oklahoma District Library system as a certified library clerk. She also works with the IMLS-supported, UKB John Hair Cultural Center Keetoowah Language Revitalization Project as a language curriculum developer, translator, and instructor.

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 citizen 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 is certified by the Cherokee Nation as a community language speaker and teacher. She has supported the Cherokee Nation’s online Cherokee courses as a volunteer teaching assistant to Cherokee National Treasure and Cherokee language expert, Ed Fields. Her pronunciation and listening comprehension has been praised by her teachers as “near perfect.” She is fluent with the Cherokee syllabary and writes songs and short stories in Cherokee.

Bobbie Gail Smith is a full-blood, bilingual Cherokee from the Rocky Mountain Community of Adair County, Stilwell, Oklahoma. Cherokee is her first language. Bobbie retired from Federal government service after 23 years and is currently a Cherokee Language teacher for Yale University. She has taught the Cherokee language at Rogers State University, Broken Arrow Community College, Bacone College, and, Northeastern State University. She has dedicated herself to service as Chair of the Cherokee Women’s Grassroots Leadership Group; as a Cherokee Educator for the International Cherokee Film Festival; and as a contributor to cultural projects with Cherokee Nation Enterprises and Cherokee Nation. She is former First Lady of the Cherokee Nation and former Miss Cherokee and remains active in Cherokee language and culture preservation.

Language Specialist

Jeffrey Bourns is the a linguist and an Affiliate Research Scientist in Linguistics at Northeastern University. His current research focuses on Cherokee and Iroquoian linguistics, and he has helped to oversee collection and modeling of Cherokee language datasets and linguistic annotation. He provides linguistic support of transcription, annotation, and digital publication of original Cherokee language texts.

Translation Specialists

Oleta Pritchett, a retired public school teacher and counselor, is an enrolled tribal member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB). As a native, first-language speaker, Oleta is fluent and literate in the Keetoowah Cherokee language and a UKB certified language instructor. She was a translator on the 2016 Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-supported, John Hair Cultural Center Missing Pieces Project to find, retrieve, and translate syllabary papers/documents into English. Oleta is currently working with the John Hair Cultural Center Keetoowah Language Revitalization Project as a language curriculum developer, instructor, and translator.

Clara Proctor, a former public school teacher, is an enrolled United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) tribal member. As a native first-language speaker, Clara is both fluent and literate in the Keetoowah Cherokee language and is a UKB certified language instructor. She received the 2018 UKB Tradition Keepers Award for her language expertise and for her activities in sharing the language with others. She was a translator on the 2016 Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-supported, John Hair Cultural Center Missing Pieces Project to find, retrieve, and translate syllabary papers/documents into English. Clara currently works for the Eastern Oklahoma District Library system as a certified library clerk. She also works with the IMLS-supported, UKB John Hair Cultural Center Keetoowah Language Revitalization Project as a language curriculum developer, translator, and instructor.

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.

Tyler Hodge is a Translation Specialist with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB). He has completed training in Cherokee language instruction and has supported members of the Illinois River Cherokee Congregation in learning Cherokee. He is also a skilled machinist and mechanic.

Former Contributors

Marlene Glass Ballard is an enrolled United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) tribal member. She is a native first-language speaker and a UKB certified language instructor. Marlene is both fluent and literate in the Keetoowah Cherokee language. She is currently working with the UKB John Hair Cultural Center Keetoowah Language Revitalization Project as a language curriculum developer, translator, and instructor. As part of the language revitalization project, Marlene is collecting traditional short stories as remembered and told by family and tribal elders.

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.

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.

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.