The Shoshone Youth Lanugage and Apprenticeship Program class of 2012.
Secondary school graduates of a Shoshone language and apprenticeship program took part in an annual reunion of Shoshone language speakers in Wyoming in July. The students are graduates of the Shoshone Youth Language and Apprenticeship Program (SYLAP) hosted by the University of Utah’s Center for American Indian Languages. Barrick has sponsored the university’s Shoshone Language Program since 2007, providing nearly $1 million for the preservation of Shoshone language and culture to date.
The annual reunion changes location every year and brings together members of the Shoshonean-speaking communities of Oklahoma, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and California to celebrate their culture. This is the second year that the students have attended the reunion since they began in 2000. Barrick sponsored the students to attend, along with Western Shoshone elders. As part of their studies, the students are also involved in language preservation activities, such as helping to compile a talking dictionary and illustrated story books.
According to a 2000 census, there are fewer than 2,900 Shoshone language speakers in the U.S., most of whom are elderly, making it one of North America’s most endangered indigenous languages.