About the Advocates

About the Advocates

MAILING ADDRESS: AICLS, PO Box 26357 Fresno, CA 93729

The Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, more commonly known as AICLS, was founded in 1992. We are a native directed non-profit organization with a board of directors that reflects the diversity of California’s indigenous languages.

Dr. Leanne Hinton, professor emerita of linguistics, U.C. Berkeley, has served as the linguistics advisor for AICLS since it was first established, and was a founding member of our organization.

Marina Drummer has served AICLS for many years as key administrator and grantsperson.

We have had the support of many great foundations, generous patrons and like minded organizations to which we are much indebted and honored. Our work covers the whole of California, often in its remotest parts, and this support enables us to continue to seek out and find new individuals and groups who are working to bring their languages back to their communities


Assisting California Indian communities and individuals in keeping their languages alive. Our main goal is the development of new speakers.

We strongly support the documentation of our languages which we believe provides the means for language revitalization. This is especially true when a community finds itself without any living speakers.

We believe native languages when spoken (and when returned) have a profound healing effect on the individual, the family and community.


Our programs and events are designed to strengthen languages still spoken natively. For those whose languages have no native speakers, our programs provide ways to bring their languages back to life through existing documentation.

The Master–Apprentice Program enables an apprentice to work with a fluent elder to acquire their aboriginal language. Language and Family Program will be working with families who have committed to regularly using their aboriginal languages in the home.

The long-standing Language Is Life and Breath of Life gatherings brings together California’s indigenous language “hunters” and speakers to gain tools, insights, strategies and inspiration for their work.

Seeds of Language is a mini-grant program ($500.00 maximum) that helps language students, teachers, and speakers purchase equipment, to attend trainings, to print and publish training materials for classroom usage.