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Staff | AILDI - American Indian Language Development Institute


Ofelia ZepedaOfelia Zepeda (Tohono O'odham), AILDI director, is a Regents' professor of linguistics and affiliate faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. She teaches Tohono O'odham language courses and survey courses on American Indian languages. Her research areas include language variation, language policy, and issues of endangered languages. She has published numerous articles in these areas. She is also author of The Tohono O'odham Grammar and of two books of poetry, much of it written in the O'odham language.  Dr. Zepeda is also  the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship  for her work on Indigenous languages. She has served on numerous boards and is currently a trustee of the Tohono O'odham Community College. Dr. Zepeda has been involved in AILDI practically since its inception as an instructor and founding co-director. Her breadth of experience in the field of language revitalization continues to guide the institution.

Dr. Zepeda's contact information is as follows:

(P) 520-621-8294


Her office is located in the Communication Building, Room 108B


Alyce SadongeiAlyce Sadongei (Kiowa/Tohono O'odham), Project Coordinator, has a career history of working with Native American arts and culture. Prior to joining the AILDI staff, she worked at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) at the University of Arizona. While at ASM she served as principle investigator on numerous grants, the most primary being an eight year project that focused on tribal libraries, archives and museums and was implemented in partnership with the Arizona State Library. This project directly influenced the formation of a national association of tribal libraries, archives and museums. Additionally, she was the co-project director of several grants related to repatriation, consultation and research regarding the use of pesticides on museum objects subject to repatriation. Previous to her work at ASM she worked at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution where she developed the internship program and other areas of outreach. She has also served on numerous boards and commissions.


Audrey HambletonAudrey Hambleton is the AILDI Administrative Assistant.  Audrey previously worked at Eller College at the University of Arizona. She brings a wealth of experience to the position and is familiar with financial and student systems. Audrey also has a degree in lingistics from Berkeley.

Amanda LeClair-Diaz (Eastern Shoshone/Northern Arapaho) is originally from Ft. Washakie, which is located on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. She is a fourth-year doctoral student in theTeaching, Learning,and Sociocultural Studies Department at the University of Arizona. Amanda's major is Indigenous Education, and her minor is Teaching and Teacher Education. While in her PhD program, Amanda has been working toward reclaiming Sosoni.  She was a student in the AILDI program in the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2017. Once Amanda obtains her PhD, she hopes to become a professor who works with pre-service educators and Native communities. Amanda advocates for Native youth, their families, tribal communities' involvement in education, and incorporating tribal languages and ways of knowing in classrooms.