This paper describes the use of Keresan Pueblo Indian Sign Language (KPISL) in one small, Keresan-speaking pueblo in central New Mexico, where 15 out of 650 tribal members have severe to profound hearing loss (twice the national average). KPISL did not originate for the same purposes as the Plains Indian Sign Language, (PISL) which was developed to facilitate inter-tribal communication between American Indian tribes that spoke different languages. Recently, there have been studies on what is left of PISL. Both KPISL and PISL have become endangered languages. KPISL is not much used today among the younger generation owing to their learning school English, American Sign Language, or signs that follow spoken English word order. English has now become the dominant language for many Pueblo Indians. Its use is eroding the traditions and values of the Pueblo Indian culture. As a result, KPISL may be slipping into extinction. An immediate step to record this unique language would be to develop illustrations of the signs found on the pueblo for a dictionary that can be placed in the pueblo's library and museum. (Contains 23 references.) (SM)
In: Reyner, Jon, Octaviana V. Trujillo, Roberto Luis Carrasco, and Louise Lockard, Eds. Nurturing Native Languages. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona University, 2003. Paper presented at the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Conference.