The CURA Project

Cayuga: Our Oral Legacy (COOL)

Cayuga: Our Oral Legacy (COOL) is a 5-year research project. Our aims are to increase the number of Cayuga speakers, fluency levels, and the number and variety of contexts in which Cayuga is spoken. COOL is a Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) Project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The project funds are approximately $1,000,000 are for 2010-2015, but we consider this project the beginning of a longer-term program to support the Cayuga civilization, language, and speakers. The official SSHRC title for this project is “Cayuga Language Maintenance", project # 833-2009-1001.

CURA Project Announcement

CURA Project Announcement



What is a CURA?

A CURA is a grant for a Community-University Research Alliance. The CURA program recognizes that community organizations and people have a pool of knowledge and expertise that is outside the academic sphere. It places this knowledge and expertise on an equal footing with university-created knowledge. The overall goal of a CURA grant is to co-create knowledge by supporting research jointly carried out by community and university partners. It is an exciting opportunity for partner organizations and researchers to learn from one another in a setting of mutual respect.

For the COOL project, the co-creation of knowledge means learning from each other about what language is, how to describe language, and how to maintain it. To give a concrete example, there is currently a big divide between the way linguists describe Cayuga, and the way speakers and learners describe and understand Cayuga. Through the CURA grant, we can develop a 'third way' of understanding what it means to know and speak Cayuga. Such research has both theoretical and practical implications, which we'll describe as the project moves along.


Who funds the CURA and how many grants were awarded?

CURA grants are funded by SSHRC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council ( SSHRC is one of four national agencies funded by the Government of Canada. (The other agencies are the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council or NSERC, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.) In 2010, SSHRC awarded 17 CURA grants, one of which was the Cayuga Language Maintenance or COOL project. The results of the 2010 SSHRC competition are announced on SSHRC's website at


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