I am a linguistic anthropologist and assistant professor at UMass Amherst. I primarily work on language treatment and revitalization, with a focus on the Chatino language of Oaxaca, Mexico; cultural identity and maintenance through language programs and curriculum development; orthography development; and, finally, issues related to sovereignty and decolonization.
One aspect of my research is the application of anthropological methods in the documentation of naturally occurring discourse in indigenous languages. An essential contribution of the anthropological perspective is the recognition of the crucial role to be played by native speaker linguists in all phases of research.
My linguistic work centers on the complex tonal structure of Chatino languages, and I developed the San Juan Quiahije variety’s alphabet. An important result of this project has been the creation of pedagogical materials that will enable members of the Chatino community to preserve their language and cultural integrity. I am a native speaker of Chatino and founder of The Chatino Language Documentation Project, a team of linguists which aims to document and revitalize Chatino languages.