SILVER CREEK - One of Silver Creek's own has been internationally recognized for her efforts to revive the Seneca language. "The conference on language documentation and conservation have awarded one of our own a very high honor," middle school principal Patricia Krenzer said at a recent school board meeting.
Anne Tahamont, K-5 Seneca language teacher, began recording everyday conversations with an elder from the Cattaraugus Reservation for her classes.
From this she received a non-profit Seed Money Grant and developed a proposal to send to the International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC) with the help of SUNY Fredonia professor Dr. Kate Mahony.
"Anne (Tahamont) did a proposal entitled, 'Documenting the Seneca Language' using a Recursive Bilingual Education Framework, and this fits in typically with the conference's theme of promoting small languages. The conference has asked Anne to present her work at the University of Hawaii in February," Krenzer said.
Out of the hundreds of proposals submitted the conference selected only 150 to present at the conference in 2011.
"I was surprised when I found out and I was excited to know that other people were interested in the efforts I have made to preserve the Seneca language," Anne Tahamont said about being chosen to speak at the conference.
Tahamont, originally from the Tonawanda Reservation near Akron, N.Y., worked with the Seneca Nation Language Department for two years before working with students at Silver Creek School.
"I hope to learn from the conference and see what others are doing," she said.
She was particularly interested in a seminar on film in language documentation and looking at Hawaiian schools teaching native Hawaiian language.
"We congratulate her as one of our own for not only supporting languages but with enough enthusiasm to be honored a such a high level, so again I applaud Anne for her high accomplishment,"Krenzer added.
Tahamont especially wanted to thank to Bessie Young, the fluent speaker and Seneca elder she recorded for class. "I couldn't have done it without her," she said.