The Online Home of the Kanza Language
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Project History

The Kaw Nation has maintained a department for the preservation and education of the tribal language since the late 1990s. Beginning in the Summer of 2001, the Kanza Language Project was formed as the result of an Language Implementation grant from the Administration for Native Americans. Between 2001 and 2005 the Project focused on teaching Kanza to local elementary school children, but also ventured into adult education and document publication. Since 2005, we have focused on the documentation of available Kanza language and cultural resources, expansion of educational opportunities at the tribal level, and the development and distribution of multimedia materials.

Publication of Documents
With no fluent Kanza speakers,
research is a necessity.
The Language Director teaches
a class at a Ponca City middle school.
Please visit the works section
for these and other documents.

Project Staff and Affiliates

Language Director

David Kaufman has been researching Siouan languages for more than 10 years and is working closely with Dr. Robert Rankin. He is currently finishing his PhD in Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Kansas. He is an experienced language instructor who has taught college-level Spanish and English. He published a revised dictionary of Biloxi, another Siouan language, in 2011. He has conducted extensive research on linguistic and cultural contact in the Lower Mississippi Valley (ca. 500-1700 AD) as part of his dissertation research. He has been the Kaw Nation Language Director since Dr. Linda Cumberland retired in July 2013.

Language Consultants

Dr. Linda Cumberland has been involved with the Project since January of 2006. Her area of expertise is Linguistic Anthropology. She has been at the forefront of research on the related Assiniboine language for many years, and is the author of "A Grammar of Assiniboine." She served as the Language Director from Justin McBride’s departure to July 2013.

Justin McBride has been involved with the Project since October of 2001, serving as Language Director through July of 2010. An active member of the Cherokee Nation with a background in linguistics, he has been interested in Native language preservation for many years. While engaged full-time with his PhD studies at Oklahoma State University, Mr. McBride will serve as an independent program partner as needed by the Kaw Nation.