Gam ‘yu jah!
If you listen to KWLP 100.9 FM “The Peach,” the live and local station of the Hualapai Nation broadcasting from Peach Springs, Arizona, and worldwide at www.kwlpradio.com, you may have noticed you are hearing more of the Hualapai language and culture coming to you across the airwaves. We hope you have! This is due in great part to a grant provided to the Hualapai Tribe Radio Station Department by Cultural Survival in 2022.
In early 2022, Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Community Media Fund awarded KWLP funding to produce bilingual content for the radio station, emphasizing that the project must involve and empower local Tribal community members and youth. The grant project provided stipends for participating Hualapai-speaking Elders and an Indigenous community member and youth assistants, as well as hosting an informational event and the purchase of related equipment and software.
Aidan Kennedy, Radio KWLP intern at the mic.
The Hualapai Tribal Council promptly approved the receipt of the funding and implementation of the project by KWLP. “The Peach” held a kick-off event in April 2022 and promoted the event and project on the air. The project began in February 2022 and closed November 30, 2022. During the course of the project, 36 community members participated together with station staff, either in group sessions, individually, or both. Community language speakers numbered 34, which included 33 women and 1 man. Two community youth participated as interns: one woman and one man. Over the course of the project, youth interns were exposed to their language and culture and had the opportunity to learn audio production skills. The community participants came from throughout the region and were of Hualapai, Supai, Yavapai, Navajo, Paiute, Hopi, White Mountain Apache, and Hualapai descent.
KWLP’s goal was to complete 12 bilingual content pieces. However, “The Peach” exceeded this goal by completing 25 bilingual radio programs. Many of these programs have multiple components, such that the number might be counted as 48 if each component were counted separately. This content was ultimately contributed by eight community participants. It was produced for on-air broadcast in part by the community youth interns and KWLP station staff.
Cultural luncheon with Elders.
The project faced some challenges, though none were new to efforts to revitalize and share language and culture on the radio in this, or other, similar communities. From the outset, many potential participants wanted to halt the project until all participants reached a consensus on what would be shared and how the language would be spoken. The reality is that the remaining language speakers come from different Tribe bands and families, have differing dialects, and pronounce some words or use phrases slightly differently. There was also concern expressed about “outsiders” or “young people” hearing the content and misusing or not appreciating and valuing it. The project also experienced delays and failure to complete content pieces due to participants and intern scheduling conflicts. These obstacles were anticipated.
What was unexpected was the open sharing and camaraderie that bloomed among several of the participants during the cultural conversation luncheons hosted by KWLP as part of the project. These luncheons were an afterthought in the project plan but clearly manifested in much of the empowerment experienced by some of the participants deriving from the project. They enjoyed rediscovering lost and forgotten words and phrases together, exploring the origins of their differing dialects and word pronunciations, and providing reassurance to many of the language speakers who previously lacked confidence in their abilities and memory.
Five of the local participants have continued to contribute bilingual content to KWLP after the close of the grant project. They have also expressed a desire to carry on in the next year. Some are hoping for compensation, while others are planning to volunteer. One of the project participants moved on to secure a contract to provide bilingual services for another department within the Tribe. An Elder from the nearby Supai Tribe contacted the station recently requesting that KWLP broadcast circle dance songs he provided. He also indicated he hopes to volunteer at the station to share language and stories, as his Tribe listens to KWLP, too.
All in all, the results have been positive for the participants, station, and community listeners. For those who listen to KWLP, you’ll hear the project results presented in the following programming segments: advertisements; event promotions; Public Service Announcements; the Hualapai version of the Community Calendar; The LaPaz Stories in April; Cultural Conversations; Hualapai Word and Phrase of the Day; and Read On Hualapai! Worldwide.
You can hear “The Peach” at www.kwlpradio.com. Thank you all for listening! Tha Bal’ Qwal gwe ja jum, meh ev jum, mah, Hank ‘yu! Thank you Cultural Survival for supporting KWLP to assist in revitalizing and encouraging participation in the Hualapai language, culture, and traditions. Hank ‘yu!
In 2022, Radio KWLP received a grant from the Indigenous Community Media Fund which provides opportunities for international Indigenous radio stations to strengthen their infrastructure and broadcast systems and creates training opportunities for journalism, broadcasting, audio editing, technical skills, and more for radio journalists from Indigenous communities around the world. In 2022, the Indigenous Community Media Fund supported communities with 23 grants totaling $138,000 to Indigenous community media outlets from 13 countries.