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The Haíɫzaqv Language Mobilization Partnership: Collaboration & Mobilization on BC’s Central Coast

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Title: The Haíɫzaqv Language Mobilization Partnership: Collaboration & Mobilization on BC’s Central Coast
Authors: Turin, Mark
Housty, Rory
Issue Date: 04 Mar 2017
Description: Haíɫzaqv is a critically endangered Northern Wakashan language, spoken in and around Bella Bella, British Columbia, Canada. While the language remains at severe risk, speaker numbers are once again increasing: an indication of community health, cultural resurgence and linguistic vitality. This serves as a compelling affirmation of the positive and lasting impact of the work of the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre and the Bella Bella Community School, two Indigenous-run research and education institutions. Heiltsuk community members have been engaged in language research and documentation for many decades. The Heiltsuk Nation initiated extensive language research and documentation in 1973. Through its Heiltsuk Language Studies program, the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre seeks to continue the documentation and revitalization of the Heiltsuk language and has created and compiled extensive resources through the following focus areas: • Developing a practical orthography (alphabet) for writing down the Heiltsuk language; recording and analyzing words in order to produce comprehensive word lists, bilingual dictionaries, and taxonomies; analyzing and identifying the basic structure of the Heiltsuk language; recording an extensive body of oral traditions, narratives, and discourses, and transcribing and translating these into English; • Assisting and promoting the understanding and interpretation of Heiltsuk culture through linguistic analysis of information recorded or transmitted in Heiltsuk; • Promoting and assisting in the development of Heiltsuk language instruction programs; • Maximizing use of available and emerging technologies to promote the preservation of and access to Heiltsuk language materials. The Bella Bella Community School instituted Heiltsuk Language Instruction as a formal part of school curriculum in 1978, and has focused on curriculum development, Heiltsuk Language teacher certification and the pursuit of effective language teaching strategies. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2016, the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre, the Bella Bella Community School and UBC’s First Nations and Endangered Languages Program are partnering to collaboratively develop new opportunities for speaking, writing and reading the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) language by expanding and deepening existing community language revitalization and cultural documentation in a digital environment. This collaborative mobilization of existing language recordings and archival and cultural resources has resulted in the release of a cross-platform Haíɫzaqv Unicode keyboard and a beta version of a fully searchable online Haíɫzaqv Digital Dictionary. Next steps include releasing the dictionary through Waldayu Mobile, a free, open source language revitalization tool that visualizes lexical terms for community revitalization goals. The language mobilization partnership provides spaces to productively combine academic and community goals.
Appears in Collections:5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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