Sky Hopinka, a Ho-Chunk/Pechanga student at Portland State University (PSU), was named Outstanding Student in Higher Education at the 2012 Oregon Indian Education Association (OIEA) Annual Conference at Grande Ronde, Oregon on April 2 and 3.
Sky received this honor for his efforts in teaching Chinuk Wawa language classes at PSU’s Native American Student and Community Center. According to a university news release his goal is to train a new generation of Chinuk Wawa language speakers to revitalize the language. According to The Oregon Encyclopedia, Chinook Jargon, or Chinook Wawa, is a local hybrid language that early traders used in preference to Chinookan languages, “which were reputedly exceptionally difficult to learn.”
According to the release, Sky presents an accelerated tribal language methodology called “Where Are Your Keys,” which uses conversation dialog along with sign language, and written and non-written language transcriptions.
OIEA award recipients are nominated through letters of recommendation submitted by colleagues, students and community members.