Indigenous languages discussed at free lecture


The native languages and culture of the Ojibwa tribe and Peruvian natives will be introduced through words, song and dance in a lecture by two faculty members at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“Importance of Indigenous Languages: Ojibwa and Runasimi (Quechua)” will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, by Spanish Professor Elia Armacanqui-Tipacti and Social Work Professor Sonny Smart. Held in the Pinery Room of the Portage County Library, 1001 Main St., Stevens Point, it is the seventh of the eight-part 2013-14 Community Lecture Series sponsored by the College of Letters and Science at UW-Stevens Point. 

The presentation will give a short history of the languages, how each connect to native culture and how the languages have survived western influence and attempts to discontinue them through historic federal policies and missionary schools. A demonstration of song and dance will explore how languages and cultures interact with each other. 

“This is the first time there will be such a unique and interdisciplinary presentation featuring two indigenous languages and cultures,” said Armacanqui-Tipacti. “It promises to be intellectually stimulating, and demonstrates UW-Stevens Point’s commitment to global citizenship.”

Armacanqui-Tipacti is a native of Peru and specializes in Latin American, Portuguese and Brazilian colonial literature. She has also studied women’s roles in colonial times as a means to uncover the silent voices of the past. She has taught at UW-Stevens Point since 2002, and has served as an adviser to the Spanish Club and Latin American student organization. She has twice won the UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award. 

Smart coordinates the Native American Rural and Social Work program and Native American Family Institute at UW-Stevens Point, where he has taught since 1990. He is a member of the Bad River Band of Chippewa of Wisconsin and has been adopted into the Menominee tribe. A certified therapist, he also serves as consultant for Wisconsin Native American tribes, has been a tribal judge and actively participates in powwows as a dancer, judge and master of ceremonies. 

The College of Letters and Science Community Lecture Series schedule and previously recorded lectures may be viewed at

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