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Reconciling difference and building trust: International collaboration in indigenous language revitalization

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Title: Reconciling difference and building trust: International collaboration in indigenous language revitalization
Authors: Smith, Julianne
Cranmer, Laura
Shaw, Patricia
Issue Date: 14 Mar 2009
Description: In the summer of 2008, the University of California at Santa Barbara hosted a six-week "InField" institute ( that brought together Indigenous language activists and linguistic scholars to share experience and expertise on issues related to endangered language documentations. The first two weeks featured a concentrated series of workshops, offering instruction in field methods, video, audio, life in the field, grant writing, documentation software, language activism, and an introduction to linguistics. Each day there was a Language Revitalization Model presented by endangered language activists and/or linguistic scholars. The remaining four weeks of the program focused on applying these skills to intensive documentation-for-revitalization of 3 very different endangered languages, one from Kenya, one from Sierra Leone, and one from British Columbia: Kwak’wala. Under the sponsorship of a SSHRC Strategic Aboriginal Research project on Kwak’wala, two fluent Elders and four younger Kwakwaka'wakw community members participated in this program, along with a very diverse group of other learners - Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, from Canada, across the US, and Europe. The challenges of this context - a wide range of individual talents and expertise, academic skills, cultural backgrounds, short- and long-term goals, institutional expectations, personal apprehensions, experience with or ignorance of historical appropriation issues - were brought together by a shared dedication to this language revitalization initiative. Under the broad rubric of “Indigenous – Academic Relationships” we invite you to hear of our experience working collaboratively within the Aboriginal and academic communities as we explore the issues confronting the diverse constituencies. We will discuss measures of success along with residual challenges, and will share strategies used to address issues of difference that frequently interface with language revitalization initiatives, such as trust, race, expertise, entitlement, and intellectual property rights. We aim to impart the value we have found in recognizing, reconsidering and confronting traditionally divisive issues as we pursue the on-going challenges nurturing Indigenous language survival
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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