FLAS Indigenous Language Courses  June 5-July 14, 2023
Sponsored by
University of Wisconsin at Madison

Brigham Young University

University of Florida

Florida International University
University of Pittsburgh

Ecuadorian Kichwa, Achuar, and Wao Tedero Language Courses

We offer graduate level intensive language courses in Amazonian Kichwa, Wao Tedero, and Achuar.  These courses are funded by FLAS Fellowships (Foreign Language and Area Studies) from the US Department of Education.  Each summer 12-15 graduate FLAS Fellows attend the Field School.  More that 200 Fellows from more than 40 universities have attended to date.  More than just language however, we seek to give our graduate students the linguistic and cultural skills they need to do cutting edge research with indigenous communities.  This includes logistical support for graduate thesis research, mentoring, networking, assistance in obtaining funding and jobs is their fields.  Sitting around the fire with each other, faculty, and indigenous colleagues they develop enduring friendships. These relationships allow them to serve as living bridges between the academic and indigenous worlds over a lifetime.   Many alumni become influencers who not only carry out collaborative projects in the Amazon but also help others to see the critical importance of Amazonian culture and to invest in it accordingly.

Program Overview:  Amazonian Kichwa is taught by Professors Tod D. Swanson, (Arizona State University), Janis B. Nuckolls (Brigham Young University), Armando Muyulema, (University of Wisconsin at Madison), Nely Shiguango and Bélgica Dahua.  The class frequently goes into the forest with traditional elders.  Origin stories and songs to species are recorded and translated in class. As ability in Kichwa improves students formulate their own research questions in Kichwa. While studying the languages students receive a grounding in the Amazonian social relation to nature and cultural thinking about the environment from top experts in the field. The Achuar and Waorani programs are  by native speaker instructors under the supervision of Tod Swanson.  Students make lasting contacts with native communities for future dissertation work. Life changing for many.  

Each program offers 140 contact hours spread over 6 weeks. Students are evaluated upon entry and again upon completion of the course using the IRIS testing instruments provided by the USDE.  All students receive grades for courses. 

Applicants for FLAS Fellowships must be citizens or residents of the United States and enrolled in a graduate program (MA or PhD) of their choice.  Students from FLAS Granting Universities should apply for FLAS Fellowships through their home universities. Students who are enrolled in non-FLAS granting institutions may apply through Florida International University  or the University of Wisconsin at Madison.   To apply:  Please email or call Tod Swanson at tod.dillon.swanson@gmail.com; Phone 480 276-5913.   We plan to hold the program in country.  All participants must be vaccinated. 

Beginning Kichwa 



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Perhaps the best resource we have are our graduate students who are the emerging leaders in the field of Amazonian Studies.   Key to the life of Iyarina are the life long friendships graduate students form with each other, faculty, and with the native storytellers and artists who are in residence at the field school throughout the summer.  

FLAS Granting Centers for Latin American Studies 2019-2023

       Brigham Young University  November 15, 2022
       Columbia University- NYU Deadline: Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 11:59 pm (EST) 
       Florida International University  January 1, 2023
       Indiana University  TBD February 14, 2023? (based on last year).
       Stanford University  February 15, 2023
       The Ohio State University       The Center for Latin American Studies will begin accepting applications for its                               Summer 2023 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship competitions on Tuesday,                                       November 1, 2022. The application deadline is Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 4:30 p.m. EST.
       University of Arizona   Deadline: TBD (February 2023? based on last year)
       University of California, Berkeley  TBD. Deadline: TBD (January 31, 2023? based on last year).
       University of Florida     Application deadline:  (TBD March 12, 2023? based on last year)

       University of Georgia   Deadline: TBD (March 4, 2023? based on last year)
       University of Pittsburgh. Deadline: TBD:
       University of Michigan   5 PM January 15, 2023
       University of North Carolina  Deadline February 10, 2023
       University of Texas   Deadline:  Applications open November 14, 2022, and close February 1, 2023.
       University of Utah    January 27, 2023

       University of Wisconsin at Madison   Application now open Deadline: February 14, 2023

       University of Wisconsin Milwaukee   Deadline: March 17, 2023
       Vanderbilt University  Deadline: TBD. (February 3? based on last year)