Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages began the Siletz Dee-Ni Online Talking Dictionary Project in early 2006. The dictionary had restricted access to tribal members and affiliated scholars only. In January 2011, at the request of the tribal council, the Talking Dictionary dropped its password-protected entry, making all of its content publicly accessible.
All of the 12,000 words in the Siletz Dee-ni Talking Dictionary have now been recorded. Since September 2010, the number of entries in the dictionary has more than doubled, and now stands at over 10,000 entries. The rest of the recordings will be uploaded by the year’s end.
In summer 2011, work began to expand Siletz Dee-ni Talking Dictionary to include modern and legacy photographic assets and video recordings. This will make the Talking Dictionary a more comprehensive and encyclopedic resource. In addition, a number of legacy audio recordings of Siletz Dee-ni speakers will supplement the existing recordings in the future.
Bud Lane has served as the main speaker for entries that were born digital to date, but these are to be supplemented by legacy materials. In addition to Dr. Anderson who recorded all the words for the talking dictionary, many students of Dr. Harrison’s at Swarthmore have contributed in a major way to the development of the dictionary in its current form. These include especially Kit La Touche, Rio Akasaka, Amy Smolek, and Jen Johnson. The Siletz Dee-Ni Online Talking Dictionary is hosted on a Linux server at Swarthmore College with full backup and RAID array redundancy. It is programmed in the MySQL database management system, which supports multi-user access.
In 1855, after years of harsh treatment, the twenty seven Tribes of the Confederation of Siletz Indians were forced onto the original Siletz Reservation. With so many languages in one area, a lingua franca, Chinook Jargon (Chinuk Wawa) was a natural and necessary resolution. This meant many of the languages of the original reservation settlers have passed out of existence without being properly recorded. In fact, it appears that only one speaker of one language from this time remains at Siletz itself.
Siletz Dee-Ni is an Oregon Athabaskan language of the Chetco-Tolowa type with words from Chasta Costa, Applegate, Galice, Rogue River, and other members of the Siletz Confederation.