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Towards the empowerment model: A case study of Blackfoot documentation and revitalization

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Title: Towards the empowerment model: A case study of Blackfoot documentation and revitalization
Authors: Miyashita, Mizuki
Yares, Rebecca
Van Buren, Jackelyn
Schupbach, Scott
Chatsis, Annabelle
show 1 moreLunak, Megan
show less
Issue Date: 28 Feb 2013
Description: Recent trends in documentation and revitalization have emphasized the empowerment model which highlights the importance of collaboration between academic and speech community members (Cameron et al. 1992, 1997;SSHRC 2007; Czaykowska-Higgins 2007), yet few articles describe actual collaborative projects and their outcomes (Yamada 2007). Among the few, Yamada (2007) demonstrates the success of the model within the Aretyry speech community of Suriname. Similarly, our project adds to the literature a case study using collaborative methodological frameworks and offers documentation and revitalization work among linguists, graduate students, a college Blackfoot instructor (native speaker), an elementary school teacher, and grade school students on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana. The project is a creation of original language education material: a short animated story in Blackfoot entitled O’towaawahkao’pa Ponoka: ‘Let’s walk around with Elk.’ In our presentation we demonstrate a mutually beneficial collaboration process by describing the material creation, reporting the material’s use in classrooms at the university and elementary school, and identifying benefits to the collaboration members.

The story involves five animal characters, covers various grammatical points such as person, number, and TAM (tense/aspect/mood), and includes natural science information. Linguistics students composed the story line and designed the aesthetically pleasing artwork to appeal to a wide range of ages. The college Blackfoot instructor then provided feedback and advised the linguistics students on cultural sensitivity and pedagogical needs. The instructor at the Cuts Wood School at the Piegan Institute (K-8 private Blackfoot immersion school) taught her students the phrases and supervised them recording their readings to be used as voice-overs for the animal characters. The animation will be used in the Cuts Wood School so that the students who participated in this project will see the outcome and can benefit from it firsthand. Simultaneously, it will be used in the Blackfoot language class offered at the University of Montana (Fall 2012) to assist second language learning. The animation story will also be disseminated online to enhance the accessibility for language teachers and learners outside of the institutions involved.

The collaborative project meets the needs of both academic linguists and Blackfoot speech communities. Linguists not only had access to speaker intuitions but built lasting trust and relationships within the community and community members received hands-on training in making pedagogical materials which are physically and intellectually accessible to the community.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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