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Project Goals

With support from the National Endowment of the Humanities, Educational Partnerships with Indigenous Communities (EPIC) is a PLC initiative to facilitate Indigenous language and culture revitalization efforts. EPIC builds on late project director Timothy Powell’s many years of digital repatriation work and had initially set out to:

  • work closely with four new institutional partners to videorecord elders explaining the significance of the digitally repatriated materials and explore how traditional knowledge systems shape the interface, metadata, and narratives of DH projects;
  • fund community members to travel to archives and digitize select materials
  • host a workshop to connect Indigenous partners, humanities scholars, and new archival partners interested in establishing digital knowledge sharing relationships;
  • co-author and publish a detailed report on how Indigenous communities use digitized archival materials and DH tools years after the initial repatriation.

After the loss of Dr. Powell, these goals evolved over time to reflect the strengths and expertise of Penn Language Center:

  • build trusted connections between PLC and the Indigenous partners
  • support partners in their digital repatriation work by creating websites using Mukurtu, a content management system for cultural heritage
  • develop a short, introductory online course on Indigenous knowledge and culture

In short, EPIC seeks to increase the diversity of language education at Penn by expanding the number of Indigenous languages offered at the University. EPIC also aims to preserve endangered languages in Native American communities and the valuable cultural knowledge they encode.



Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

  • The Late TJ Holland, Curator, Junaluska Museum
  • Tom Belt, Cherokee Language Specialist, Western Carolina University
  • Angelina Jumper, Cultural Resources Supervisor, Junaluska Museum



  • Rick Hill (Tuscarora), Historian, Six Nations Polytechnic
  • Taylor Gibson (Cayuga), Library and Archives Canada, Six Nations Polytechnic
  • Kevin White (Mohawk), University of Toronto, Akwesasne/Tonawanda
  • Tanis Hill (Mohawk), Six Nations Polytechnic, Six Nations Polytechnic
  • Kiera Brant-Birioukov (Mohawk), York University, Tyendinaga
  • Talena Atfield (Mohawk), University of Waterloo, Six Nations Polytechnic



  • Lyz Jaakola, Director, Ojibwemowining Center, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
  • David McDonald, Multi Media Production Program Director, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College


Tuscarora Nation

  • Betsy Bissell, Director, Nęyękwawęta'θkwáhshek Tuscarora Language Program (NTLP)
  • Tina Pineda, Retired Tuscarora Language teacher, NTLP
  • Vince Schiffert, Tuscarora School and Niagara Wheatfield High School (NWHS)
  • Trish Pineda, Tuscarora Language Teacher Niagara Wheatfield Middle School and NWHS
  • Nick Smiedala, Tuscarora Language Intern, Tuscarora School
  • Caitlin Phillips, Tuscarora Language Teacher, Tuscarora School
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