Dr. Kayla Begay

Associate Professor


Dr. Kayla Begay is an Associate Professor of Native American Studies at Cal Poly Humboldt. Her research is focused on Dene Languages, California Indian Languages, language variation, historical linguistics and community-based language revitalization and reclamation. Her previous fieldwork experience includes work with speakers of Hupa, Karuk, Yucatec Maya and Sereer. Dr. Begay’s continuing research focuses on historical-comparative linguistics for language revitalization within Wailaki and Hupa communities.
Dr. Begay is an enrolled member of Hoopa Valley Tribe with grandparents enrolled in the Karuk and Yurok tribes. She is also a boardmember with the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS). She received her Ph.D. (2017) and M.A. (2012) in Linguistics from the University of California Berkeley, and B.A. (2010) in Linguistics from Stanford University. She is also a traditional basketweaver and singer.

Areas of Interest:
Language Revitalization, Language Endangerment, Language Reclamation, Sociolinguistics, Language Variation, Historical Linguistics, California Indian Culture & Community-based Research.

Recent Publications:

  • Begay, Kayla, Justin Spence, and Cheryl Tuttle. 2021. Teaching Wailaki: Archives, interpretation, and collaboration. In Translating Across Time and Space, edited by Adrianna Link, Patrick Spero, and Abigail Shelton. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Risling-Baldy, Cutcha and Kayla Begay. 2019. Chapter 2: Xo’ch Na:nahde’tł’-te - Survivance, Resilience and Unbroken Traditions in Northwest California. In Ka’mt’em: A Journey Toward Healing edited by Kishan Lara-Cooper and Walter J. Lara Sr. Pechanga: Great Oak Press
  • Begay, Kayla. Winter 2018-19. With Respect – Mervin Louis George Sr. In News from Native California edited by Terria Smith. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books.
Dr. Kayla Begay
(707) 826-4316
BSS 254