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Each year at its annual winter conference, SSILA presents three awards, the Mary Haas Book Award, the Ken Hale Prize, and the Victor Golla Prize.

The Mary R. Haas Book Award

This award is presented to a junior scholar for an unpublished manuscript that makes a significant substantive contribution to our knowledge of Native American languages. Although the award carries no financial stipend, the winning manuscript is eligible for publication under the Society's auspices in the University of Nebraska Press series Studies in the Native Languages of the Americas. To submit a manuscript for the Haas Award, send it in PDF format by email or on a CD by post to the Executive Secretary so as to arrive no later than May 1st. Please verify that it has in fact been received.

Manuscripts may be submitted in English, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish. Winning manuscripts in English will have priority consideration at the University of Nebraska Press. For winning manuscripts in languages other than English, the Society will provide letters requesting special consideration by any potential publisher(s) in light of the manuscript's award-winning status.

The award honors the memory of Mary R. Haas (1910-1996), Professor of Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and a founding member of the Linguistics Department,of which she was Chair for many years. She also chaired the Department of Anthropology from 1958-1964. There she founded the Survey of California Indian Languages and supervised the field work of more than 100 doctoral students.

Haas was a notable scholar of the indigenous languages of the Americas in her own right. Her doctoral dissertation, supervised by Edward Sapir, was a description of Tunica carried out with Sesostrie Youchigant, the last speaker of the language. She also worked with the last speakers of Natchez and Creek, and later in her career, on several of the languages of California.

The Wikipedia contains a fuller biography.

Recipients of the Mary Haas Book Award
1990Willem de ReuseStudies in Siberian Yup'ik EskimoUniversity of Utah Press, 1994
1991Randolph GraczykIncorporation and Cliticization in Crow MorphosyntaxUniversity of Nebraska Press, 2007
1992Carolyn MacKayGrammar of Misantla TotonacUniversity of Utah Press, 1999
1993Spike GildeaComparative Cariban Morphosyntax: On the Genesis of Ergativity in Independent Clauses 
1994J. Randolph ValentineOjibwe Dialect Relationships 
 Hanni WoodburyConcerning the League: The Iroquois League Tradition as Dictated in Onondaga by John Arthur GibsonAlgonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics, Memoir 9, 1992
1995David CostaThe Miami-Illinois LanguageUniversity of Nebraska Press, 2003
 Shanley AllenAcquisition of Some Mechanisms of Transitivity Alternation in Arctic Quebec InuktitutJohn Benjamins, 1996
1996Sara TrechterThe Pragmatic Functions of Gender Deixis in Lakhota 
1997Ivy DoakCoeur d'Alene Grammatical Relations 
1998Anna M. S. BergeTopic and Discourse Structure in West Greenlandic Agreement Constructions 
1999Lynette MelnarCaddo Verb MorphologyUniversity of Nebraska Press, 2004
2000Sergio MeiraA Grammar of TiriyoMouton de Gruyter, 2005
2001Roberto ZavalaInversion and Other Topics in the Grammar of Olutec (Mixean) 
2002No Award
2003Pilar ValenzuelaTransitivity in Shipibo-Konibo Grammar 
2004Kristine StenzelA Reference Grammar of Wanano 
2005Frank SeifartThe Structure and Use of Shape-Based Noun Classes in Miraña (North West Amazon) 
2006Nicholas PharrisWinuunsi Tm Talapaas: A Grammar of the Molalla Language 
2007No Award
2008Susan Smythe KungA descriptive grammar of Huehuetla Tepehua 
2009Eladio Mateo ToledoThe Family of Complex Predicates in C’anjob’al (Maya): their Syntax and Meaning 
2010Lynda BoudreaultA Grammar of Sierra Popoluca (Soteapanec, a Mixe-Zoquean Language) 
2011Rosa Vallejos YopánA Grammar of Kokama-Kokamilla 
2012Indrek ParkA Grammar of Hidatsa 

Haas Award Winner Susan Smythe Kung (2009))
Haas Award Winner Susan Smythe Kung (2009)

The Ken Hale Prize

This prize is presented in recognition of outstanding community language work and a deep commitment to the documentation, maintenance, promotion, and revitalization of indigenous languages in the Americas. The Prize, which usually carries a $500 stipend, honors those who strive to link the academic and community spheres in the spirit of Ken Hale. Recipients can range from native speakers and community-based linguists to academic specialists, and may include groups or organizations. No academic affiliation is necessary.

Nominations for the prize may be made by anyone, and should include a letter of nomination stating the current position and affiliation, if appropriate, of the nominee or nominated group (tribal, organizational, or academic), and a summary of the nominee's background and contributions to specific language communities. The nominator should also submit a brief portfolio of supporting materials, such as the nominee's curriculum vitae, a description of completed or on-going activities of the nominee, letters from those who are most familiar with the work of the nominee (e.g. language program staff, community people, academic associates), and any other material that would support the nomination. Submission of manuscript-length work is discouraged. The deadline for receipt of nominations is May 1st.

The award is presented at the annual winter meeting. Nominations will be kept active for two subsequent years for prize consideration and nominators are invited to update their nomination packets if so desired. Please send nominations and inquiries to the Executive Secretary.

This prize honors the memory of Kenneth Locke Hale (1934-2001), who spent nearly all of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ken worked on languages all over the world, but he began his career as an Americanist and continued to work on the indigenous languages of the Americas throughout his life.

As a teenager, he learned Hopi and Towa, followed by Navajo as a University student. From the late 1950s Ken published major work in every branch of our field. He made foundational contributions to the comparative historical linguistics of Uto-Aztecan, Kiowa-Tanoan, and Misumalpan. He published basic descriptive work, always oriented toward fundamental theoretical problems, on dozens of Native American languages, especially Navajo, Hopi, Tohono O'odham, and Ulwa of Nicaragua. He made major theoretical contributions in semantics, phonology and syntax that were continually fresh over the 40 years of his career; for many years Ken was the 'universal' in 'universal grammar'.

In recent years he was a leader in alerting the world to the problem of language endangerment. In addition to major publications on this issue, he made immense practical contributions, in encouraging work on endangered languages by students everywhere, in developing pedagogical materials, and, especially, in training, working with, and encouraging native-speaker and community-based linguists both inside and outside the academic world. Those he mentored and worked with include Florentino P. Ajpacaja Tum, Albert Alvarez, Hazel Dean-John, Jessie Little Doe Fermino, Lolmay Pedro Garcíaa Matzar, Salome Gutiérrez, Lorraine Honie, Abanel Lacayo Blanco, Laverne Masayesva Jeanne, Alyse Neundorf, Valentín Peralta, Waykan Benito Pérez, Ellavina Tsosie Perkins, Paul Platero, Pakal Rodríguez Guaján, Enrique Sam Colop, Irene Silentman, Mary Helen Taptoe, Gregorio Tum, Lucille Watahomigie, Josie White Eagle, Mary Willie, and Ofelia Zepeda.

In the 1980s he participated in a distinguished effort to build community-based language development programs for endangered languages in Nicaragua. The many short courses and workshops he gave around the world included courses for native-speaker linguists in Guatemala in 1988 and 1994. The Maestra in Linguistics at the Universidad de Sonora in Hermosillo, an important new program specializing in Native American languages in Mexico, owed much to Ken's tireless volunteer teaching. In the United States, he was one of the founders of the Navajo Language Academy, at which he continued to teach even in his final illness.

Ken's unfailing and extraordinary generosity as friend and colleague to all who crossed his path in the Americanist world was one of the foundations of our sense of scholarly community.

The Wikipedia contains a biography with additional information.

Recipients of the Ken Hale Prize
2002Emory Sekaquaptewa, Hopi Tribe
2003Cristina Messineo and the other members of the Daviaxaiqui Project for Toba Language Preservation, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2004Anthony Mattina, University of Montana
2005Wilhelm K. Meya and the other members of the Lakota Language Consortium
2006Michael Krauss, University of Alaska
2007Virginia Beavert, Yakama Tribe and Heritage University
Laureano Segovia, Wichi Language Project
2008Vi (Taqʷšəblu) Hilbert
2009American Indian Language Development Institute
2012Anton Treuer, Bemidji State University, Minnestoa

2012 Hale Prize Winner Anton Treuer
2012 Hale Prize Winner Anton Treuer

Press coverage of the 2012 Prize:

Hale Prize Winners Virginia Beavert (2007)) and Mike Krauss (2006)
Hale Prize Winners Virginia Beavert (2007) and Mike Krauss (2006)

Hale Prize Winner Virginia Beavert (2007) Flanked By Joana Jansen and Sharon Hargus
Hale Prize Winner Virginia Beavert (2007) Flanked by Joana Jansen and Sharon Hargus

The Victor Golla Prize

This prize, established in 2009, is presented in recognition of those who, like Victor Golla, founding Secretary/Treasurer of SSILA, show a significant history of both linguistic scholarship and service to the scholarly community. The linguistic scholarship can take the form of either the documentation or philology of one or more indigenous languages of the Americas, such that the scholarly community knows significantly more about the language or languages of study as a result of that work. The service to the scholarly community can take the form of providing opportunities for others to communicate their work on indigenous languages, primarily through editorial work, conference organization, or responsibility for a major archive. The Prize, which bestows a life membership in SSILA on the recipient, seeks especially to honor those who strive to carry out interdisciplinary scholarship in the spirit of Victor Golla, combining excellent linguistic documentation or philology with scholarship in one or more other allied fields, such as anthropology, education, history, or literature.

To make a nomination for the Victor Golla Prize, please send a letter of nomination; a version of the nominee's CV; and two letters of support reflecting the nominee's scholarship and service to the Executive Secretary by May 1. Nominees need not know of their nomination. The prize will be awarded when a worthy scholar is selected, and will be announced at the Annual Meeting.

Recipients of the Victor Golla Prize
2010Monica Macaulay (University of Wisconsin-Madison
2012Ives Goddard (Smithsonian Institution)