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Natalia López de Paz dancing with a Folklife Festival visitor

As part of the Recovering Voices mission, we aim to make the Smithsonian’s collections more accessible and create opportunities for dialogue about language and knowledge revitalization.



Tracing Roots: A master weaver's journey to understand a spruce root hat found in a retreating glacier, featuring Delores Churchill.

October 28, 2015, 6:15pm-8:30pm, Baird Auditorium, Ground Floor, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. Join us to view a film and hear from Delores Churchill. RSVP for this event. Free & open to the public.

Recovering Voices at Arctic Spring - Arctic Matters: A Smithsonian Festival of the North 2015 May 8, 2:00pm-5:00pm & May 9, 10:00am-4:00pm

From May 8-9, 2015, Recovering Voices participated in the National Museum of Natural History’s Festival: Arctic Spring – Arctic Matters: A Smithsonian Festival of the North. From 2pm-5pm on Friday May 8, and 10am-4pm on Saturday May 9, the Recovering Voices Arctic Voices activity and information booth was set up in the Q?rius Education Center. Learn more about this event on our Highlights page, and the Arctic Festival website.



One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage

Gabriela in processionAs part of this program of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Recovering Voices engaged thousands of Folklife Festival attendees through a language diversity mapping activity. Attendees recorded their first, second, third and heritage languages on a map, by pinning the languages to a map indicating where they live. The Recovering Voices Program will database the information and create an interactive map. To hear festival audio about the activity click here.

Recovering Voices researcher Gabriela Pérez-Báez also coordinated the participation of members from the Zapotec community in which she works in the Festival.

Speakers of Isthmus Zapotec from Juchitán de Zaragoza in Oaxaca, Mexico, are involved in language maintenance as writers, poets, musicians, and knowledge bearers. For this community Language is critical in fostering cooperation and enabling the transmission of knowledge across generations. Participants from the Isthmus community included:

  1. Rosaura López Cartas, artisan tortilla maker, knowledge bearermap folklife
  2. Víctor Cata, writer, language activist
  3. Reyna López López, field researcher
  4. Natalia López de Paz, writer, language activist
  5. Velma Orozco Trujillo, expert cook, knowledge bearer
  6. Martín Fabian Peña Santos, musician
  7. Vicente Guerra López, musician
  8. Gerardo Valdivieso Parada

Click here to learn more about “One World, Many Voices”