2001 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award
Awardee: Phillip Cash Cash
Wáaqo' 'ew'néhpint'e keyóx hishaplatíisha Kí'u 'íinim héeshinpa kaa tim'néepe 'íinim titooqatimtkí
"Now, I am bringing forward that which is blooming like flowers here in my breath and in my heart — my indigenous language."
-Phillip E. Cash Cash
Phillip E. Cash Cash (formerly Phillip E. Minthorn, Jr.) is honored as the recipient of the 2001 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award in Conservation for his language preservation work among the Sahaptian speaking peoples of the southern Columbia Plateau. Phillip will use the fellowship to continue his language documentation work, elder outreach and cultural research for the Tamastslik Cultural Institute.
Indigenous communities throughout the Northwest are experiencing language loss as a result of a diminished use of language, losing aged fluent speakers, and children not learning the language. Phillip's work will help document these endangered languages and assist in language revitalization efforts at the community level. Languages he is most committed to working with are Nez Perce, Sahaptin, Cayuse, Klamath, Chinook Jargon and other Oregon languages.
As part of his language preservation work, Phillip made significant contributions to the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute's sixty exhibit text panels that include historical stories about the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla. His linguistic research has also made valuable insights towards understanding Nez Perce language use and history. Language materials researched as part of the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award fellowship will be deposited at the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute.
Phillip is currently working on his doctoral requirements in the Joint Ph.D Program in Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Arizona. Previous to pursuing an advanced degree, he has had over ten years of experience working in the Native community in the areas of anthropology, repatriation and cultural research. His most rewarding experience has been his work as a research consultant at the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute and as a Museum Specialist at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.
Phillip is a speaker of Nez Perce and is a Cayuse/Nez Perce tribal member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. Phillip has served his Tribal community not only in language preservation but also through his work in fine arts, oral history collection, archaeological field work, conservation and historical research.