About Our Language Center

Heritage University Language Center (HULC) was started in 2014 to assist with the efforts in language revitalization, preservation and promotion. Language endangerment and extinction is happening all over the world, and people, communities and organizations can work together to help make a difference and save as many languages as we can.

HULC started different projects in the community, including:

  • An Ichishkin-focused 2- and 3-year-old classroom at the Heritage University Early Learning Center
  • Opened all of the college-level classes to the community
  • Started the Zillah after-school Ichishkin Language and Culture club

HULC is working on creating more language materials, and has finished its first Ichishkin-only book that is Volume One of an ongoing series of books. HULC has also organized an End of the Year Ichishkin Learners Recognition event to honor and recognize the people who are learning the Yakama language.

Our HULC staff plans to grow, expand and help start after-school language and culture clubs throughout the valley.


HU Classes and Community Classes

Heritage University Language Center (HULC) has opened up the college-level Ichishkin language courses to those in the community who are interested in learning the language, but do not need course credits. Many times, it is difficult to find somewhere in the community that is consistent for learning the Ichishkin language. The community members can now take college level classes along with Heritage students and learn the language together. The community members will receive a certificate of completion and the HU students will receive the credits. The times were made during the Yakama Nation Tribal Agency’s lunch hour so that employees of the tribe can take the class and use an additional hour of education leave.

If you are interested in this course work, please see the Heritage University Catalog for additional details.


Zillah After-School Language and Culture Club

Heritage University Language Center (HULC) teamed up with the Zillah school district to start this after-school program for the Native Americans of all ages in the district. The club meets every day after school at the elementary school.

The after-school club was started to help children learn the language and culture to help them with self-identity and to make them better students. Many times, there is a struggle between language classes and the general education classes, so our after-school club was formed to avoid this issue.

This is a pilot program, and the goal is for other schools in the community to follow this type of program. It also can be used as a guide to illustrate how much language can children learn in an after-school language club.


Sahaptin Focused 2- and 3-Year Old Class

Heritage University Language Center (HULC) teamed up with the Heritage University Early Learning Center to use a classroom that will focus on the Ichishkin language and culture. There are two teachers, plus some assistance from two fluent Yakama Elders (one man and one woman) who help with passing on some of their language and teachings. The children hear language all throughout the day, and they also sing some of our longhouse songs before every meal. They also love to sing, so we sing many different kinds of songs such as Pow-wow, Coastal, or another known Native American style. The goal is to keep these young children together and learning the language until they are ready for an Ichishkin Immersion Kindergarten class.