Virginia Beavert celebrates 100th birthday

Submitted by Joyce Parvi on

Virginia Beavert, Tuxámshish, who received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from UW in 2009 (nominated by Linguistics), celebrated her 100th birthday on Nov. 30, 2021 outside the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI), University of Oregon, Eugene.  Beavert was a UO graduate student 2007-2012, receiving a PhD in Linguistics in 2012.  From 2012-2016, Dr. Beavert was a Research Associate at NILI, and since 2016 she has served as the Sapsikʷ’ałá Distinguished Elder Educator for the UO College of Education. Visitors from her hometown of Toppenish WA and other communities in Washington, Oregon and California assembled outside of NILI to wish her kw’aɬáni mash wá páwyakyuut ɬkw’í (happy birthday).

Dr. Beavert continues to be active in research on her language, Ichishkíin (Sahaptin). Her dissertation, The Gift of Knowledge / Ttnúwit Átawish Nch'inch'imamí: Reflections on Sahaptin Ways (edited by Janne Underriner),was published in 2019 by UW Press.  The second edition of a collection of legends, Anakú Iwachá (co-edited by Michelle Jacobs and Joana Jansen), was published in 2021 by UW Press.  In 2019 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Museum at Warm Springs, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. In 2021 she received the Ken Hale Award from the American Indian Language Development Institute, University of Arizona (her MA institution). Working with Sharon Hargus, she continues to revise and expand Ichishkíin Sínwit Yakama/Yakima Dictionary, a 2009 UW Press and Heritage University publication, as well as transcriptions and translations of recordings of Sahaptin narratives, most notably her near-monolingual late mother, Ellen Saluskin (Xápt’iniks Sawyalílx).