The Center, the first of its kind in the United States, is a significant national and international resource for speakers and scholars of indigenous Latin American languages. It has established the following main goals:
- To host indigenous Latin American students at the University of Texas at Austin.
- To provide speakers of indigenous Latin American languages with basic linguistic tools needed to conduct ongoing language work in their communities.
- To facilitate research and documentation of indigenous languages by faculty and students.
- To facilitate faculty and student exchanges between Latin America and the University of Texas at Austin in programs that contribute to knowledge about indigenous languages and to their development.
- To foster collaboration and cooperation between scholars and indigenous communities.
- To strengthen and support the teaching of indigenous Latin American languages on campus.
- To host lecture series, conferences, visits by independent scholars, and other means of informing the university and general public about Latin American indigenous languages and their speakers.
CILLA has been established at the University of Texas at Austin to take advantage of significant institutional strength in Latin America, the interests of several key faculty members, and widespread student interest in indigenous Latin America. In addition to serving the needs of faculty and students, and strengthening the institutional connections to indigenous Latin America, it seeks to be of service to indigenous Latin American populations, especially by contributing to language information and maintenance, and by exploring how social policy in Latin American countries can be made more responsive to their multilingual communities. It is administered by a director and a steering committee composed of UT faculty and students.