The LSA is pleased to announce that Ms. Valerie Switzler is the recipient of its Excellence in Community Linguistics Award for 2016. The award will be presented at the Linguistic Society of America's 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, at a special ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, immediately preceding the Presidential Address.

As described in the nomination, Ms. Switzler truly embodies the spirit of the LSA’s Excellence in Community Linguistics Award. As the Director of the Culture and Heritage Program of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon, Ms. Switzler has dedicated her career to the documentation, maintenance and growth of her community’s three languages, Kiksht, Ichishkiin/Sahaptin, and Northern Paiute. Her language ­related accomplishments in the Warm Springs area are many: she started a tribal language archive that she still manages today; she initiated the first total ­language immersion program for preschoolers in all three languages; and she fosters language and cultural transmission from elders to youth by facilitating a master ­apprentice­type program on the reservation.

Ms. Switzler has also contributed in the discipline of linguistics in many ways. She co­authored a description of the languages of Warm Springs in a Routledge language handbook; she is a significant contributor to the Conversational Kiksht collection in the Endangered Languages Archive; she procured a grant from the Endangered Language Fund to create a Practical Kiksht Grammar; and she worked to establish a language teaching partnership with the Northwest Indian Language Institute at the University of Oregon. In 2014 she won the Excellence in Oregon Heritage Award for her work to establish the Warm Springs Language Archive, and she has appeared in an extensive list of media publications for her work.

Perhaps most inspiring, however, is her deep commitment to her community’s own investment in their language programs. As Joana Janson, Associate Director of the Northwest Indian Language Institute, writes in her letter of support for Ms. Switzler’s nomination: "What I know of Valerie Switzler as a leader is that she listens to her community. She deeply involves language teachers and elders in all decisions, and in doing so, holds their respect and support. Because of this, the language programs at Warm Springs are deeply cherished by those involved. They represent a collaborative vision and plan. Valerie also builds collaborative relationships with institutions beyond the Tribe, and the projects stemming from these relationships respect tribal sovereignty and traditional knowledge while bringing expertise in archiving, teaching, and documentation … Her dedication to her language of heritage, Kiksht, her thoughtful support of all three of her tribe’s languages, and her warm mentoring of tribal teachers maker her an inspiring choice this award."