We honor our past and take responsibility for our future as the Yakama Nation’s Language Program, we will preserve and protect the tribal culture, traditions, and foremost the language to assure the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of our people and provide cultural education for all generations.

Questions about how to get involved? Email [email protected] or call 509-865-5121 x4805.

Keegan Livermore (he/they)Strategic Planning Manager
Lahoma DoublerunnerBusiness Coordinator
Bronsco JimLead Community Outreach Coordinator
Regan AndersonCommunity Outreach Coordinator, Babies & Families
Lottie SamCommunity Outreach Coordinator, Fisheries & First Foods
Zelda WinnierCommunity Outreach Coordinator, Tribal Employees & Programs
Current Classrooms & Teachers

Map of Schools (Button link to the following address: https://bit.ly/3qsFCxA )

Early Childhood Learning

  • YN Wapato Headstart
  • YN White Swan Headstart
  • Heritage University Early Learning Center

School Districts

  • Toppenish School District
    • Rotating Elementary School Classes
    • High School 1st & 2nd Year Classes 
  • Yakama Nation Tribal School
    • High School 1st & 2nd Year Classes
  • Wapato School District
    • Rotating Elementary School Classes
    • Middle School Classes
    • High School 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Classes
    • Seal of Biliteracy eligible
  • Mt. Adams School District
    • Rotating Elementary School Classes
    • Middle School Classes
    • High School 1st & 2nd classes
  • Goldendale School District
    • High School Class
  • Union Gap School District
    • Annual Week-long Class (Intersession)
  • Yakima School District
    • Annual Week-long Class (Intersession)
    • Monthly Culture Nights (planned, 2023-24)
  • Ellensburg School District
    • After School Program Workshops (2022-23)

Colleges & Universities (& Employees)

  • Heritage University
    • 1st & 2nd Year Classes
  • Salish Kootenai College (Yakama Campus)
    • 1st Year Classes
  • University of Oregon
    • 1st & 2nd Year Classes

Community Programs

  • Camp Chaparral (summers)
  • Ttáwax̱t Birth Justice Center
  • Heritage University Language Center
Language & Cultural Arts Teacher Certification

The Yakama Nation can certify teachers interested in working in Washington school districts as part of the First People’s Language, Culture, and Oral Traditions certification program with OSPI. Our program has operated as a “Grow Your Own” residency model that supports community members already working in teaching the Ichishkíin language and Yakama cultural arts (including weaving, beading, sewing, drumming, singing, etc.).

We are implementing two kinds of certifications:

  • Yakama Language Teacher Certifications
  • Yakama Cultural Arts Teacher Certifications

(Teachers are eligible to receive both certifications at the same time, with appropriate supporting evidence.)

Overall Requirements for the certifications:

  • Yakama Nation Language Program Application (linked below)
  • Resume/CV
  • OSPI Application 
  • Fingerprints & Background Check 
  • Issues of Abuse Coursework with Heritage University *completed as a cohort
  • Reference Letter from Teacher or Elder
  • Language/Culture Samples
  • Teaching Unit Plan Samples

Most of these materials can be developed and completed during the residency year. 

Our 1st cohort of the program featured 16 teachers. We are excited to be working towards our 2nd cohort starting Summer 2023! Those interested should complete the form linked below or contact [email protected] for more information.

Teacher Certification Application (button link: https://bit.ly/3WQErnG )

Seal of Biliteracy

The Washington State Seal of Biliteracy (RCW 28A.300.575, WAC 392-410-350) was established in 2014 with the intent to recognize public high school graduates who have attained an intermediate-mid proficiency in English and one or more world languages, including American Sign Language and Tribal languages. Students in all Graduation Pathways are eligible to earn the Seal. Participating school districts with students eligible to receive the Seal shall place a notation on a student’s high school diploma and high school transcript indicating that the student has earned the Seal. (From the OSPI Website)

Students who take 3 years of Ichishkíin courses in high school are eligible to receive the Seal of Biliteracy with Ichishkíin. In the Spring of their senior year before graduating, students can work with their Ichishkíin sapsikw’aɬá (teacher) and district staff to request to present their learning to Tribal Council and demonstrate their level of proficiency. Candidates write a letter to Tribal Council explaining their journey and how they have been learning to use Ichishkíin in their lives, as well as their learning in their family, longhouse, and community.


Interested students and school districts can contact [email protected] for more information about earning the Seal of Biliteracy.

Pápawilalaakwt (Language Competition)

Based on the Umatilla Knowledge Bowl (2010-2019), this competition brings together Ichishkíin students in districts across our reservation to show off their knowledge of specific language themes in a head to head, individual competition format. This event in planned by the Language Program in partnership with the Ichishkíin teachers and JOM committees across districts. 

Past Winners (button link: https://bit.ly/42rpCcn )

To see what kinds of vocabulary and rule sets we have used, check out the folders linked below!

2023: Daily Routine and Telling Time (button link: https://bit.ly/43u8yUy )

2022: All About Food (button link: https://bit.ly/3oPoD8a )

2019: Cultural Behaviors (button link: https://bit.ly/42w2OIm )

For information about how to get involved in the Annual Competition, contact [email protected].