Meet the Authors!
Megan Marquis, UWM MCEA Education, Senior at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
I was born into the arms of a theater director, and a creative writer for parents. Little did I know, that this combination of unleashed creativity, mixed with my innate sense for adventure, would lead me to study for my bachelor’s degree in the arctic tundra of rural Alaska. This is where I worked on preserving an endangered Indigenous language by creating a science curriculum that would help pass down the Cup’ik Elder’s knowledge of surviving on the tundra to their grandchildren. There I witnessed how the act of colonization through education nearly destroyed an entire community through what’s known as “the boarding school epidemic”. Since children were forced to learn English and to forget their native language, they were unable to say hello to their mothers or tell them that they still loved them in their home language.
This is the experience that inspired me to teach with culturally relevant pedagogy at the forefront of all of my lessons, and to use the philosophy of multicultural education in everything I do.
One of the hardest resources to find to support student native languages at home and their English linguistic development, can be bilingual literacy texts. Given this knowledge a colleague of mine started to create working translations of English texts- where students, can read, and hear stories in an online bilingual literacy site, where children’s books are recorded/written in nearly every indigenous/world language you could possibly find. Here’s the link to one of the Cup’ik translations below from the Cup’ik community I was working with.
How can you help?
Even if you are not a teacher, this site has volunteers all over the world that are working together to translate stories to help support bilingual students. So if there is a language you would like to see here or more stories that you would want to have recorded, all you would need to do is to record the text yourself and submit it to the organizer of Unite For Literacy.