The Challenge of New Intercultural Maps: Indigenous Language Revitalization Between Brazil and Aotearoa/New Zealand

  • Arianna Berardi-Wiltshire
  • Chang Whan
  • Marcus MaiaEmail author
  • Marcia Gojten Nascimento
  • Peter Petrucci
  • Beatrice Mari Ropata Te-Hei
  • Krystal Te Rina Warren
Reference work entry


This chapter describes and critically reflects on an ongoing language revitalization project for Kaingang, an endangered Jê language spoken by approximately 20,000 people in southern Brazil. Stemming from collaboration between indigenous and nonindigenous academics from Brazil and Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Kaingang revitalization project is at once local and global. Fundamental to the project is the extent to which successful Māori language educational initiatives – such as Te Kohanga Reo (Māori language nest) – can be adapted to a Kaingang context. As with early language revitalization efforts by Māori educators and language activists, the Kaingang project is starting at the grassroots level. Specifically, the first step is to initiate a language nest in Nonoai, a village in which at least half of the adult population are Kaingang speakers. Later, and similar to the Māori context, it is envisaged that the preschool language nest in Nonoai will set an important example and encourage members of other villages to pass down their valuable knowledge of Kaingang language and culture to preschool children. This project has the potential to inspire speakers of other minority languages in Brazil. Family and community language policies can be shared and adapted to increase intergenerational transmission and safeguard endangered languages. However, collaborative projects such as this one also come with challenges and require critical reflection. Of utmost importance, such projects must operate with integrity and center around the indigenous minority people/language within the project. Ideological reflections are therefore critical to joint revitalization projects, and the chapter explores those questions further.


Language revitalization Endangered languages Māori language nests Kohanga Reo movement Kaingang language 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Arianna Berardi-Wiltshire
    • 1
  • Chang Whan
    • 2
  • Marcus Maia
    • 3
    Email author
  • Marcia Gojten Nascimento
    • 3
  • Peter Petrucci
    • 1
  • Beatrice Mari Ropata Te-Hei
    • 1
  • Krystal Te Rina Warren
    • 1
  1. 1.Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Museum of the Indigenous People-FUNAIRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Federal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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