Reconnection to Gila River Akimel O'odham history and culture through development of a user-friendly O'odham writing method

At one time before European contact Indigenous groups flourished on the American continent and maintained their ideas of conveying knowledge, history, and beliefs through the oral tradition. It is widely concluded that hundreds of Native languages were spoken to convey the aspects related above, which were unique and specific to each individual tribe. With the colonization of the American continent by European peoples, came the beginning of the end of the Indian way of life. Because of this reality and circumstances that were yet to be endured by Indigenous groups, the destruction of many Native languages also occurred over time. Presently, only a few hundred Indigenous languages have survived. In the effort at preserving some of the remaining Indigenous languages, writing systems which often have a foundation in non-Native higher academia have been developed for some; O'odham being one. This paper examines developing a more grassroots O'odham writing system.


Duncan Johns


Ofelia Zepeda






College of Social and Behavioral Sciences