The Myaamia language was labeled an extinct language by the mid 20th century. After 25 years of reconstruction and revitalization, the Myaamia language is spoken once again among a younger generation of tribal youth who are using language learning opportunities to reconnect to each other and their Indigenous knowledge system. It is through the creation of a holistic well-designed educational effort that cultural knowledge and language proficiency will increase over time. This talk will explore the strategies employed by the Myaamia community in their attempts to rebuild community through language and cultural education.

Daryl Baldwin, Director, Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Daryl Baldwin is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The Myaamia Center is a unique collaborative effort supported by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for the purpose of advancing the language and cultural needs of the Myaamia people. Daryl received an MA in linguistics from the University of Montana. He has worked with the Myaamia people developing language and cultural materials since 1995. For an update on the projects currently under development through the Myaamia Center please visit the web site at www.myaamiacenter.org.

Location & Timing

11:30-1:00pm, Monday, February 22, 2016
Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, First Nations Longhouse
1985 West Mall

Journalists, grant givers and an interested public often ask which language revitalization programs and strategies have been successful. But “language revitalization” is a broad term that can include many different possible goals, and “success” is a point of view rather than a concrete fact. This paper is a result of conversations with Indigenous language activists as to what they view as success (or failure) in the language revitalization for themselves and their communities. These conversations lead to the observation that what counts as success is diverse, individualistic, and transitory, since one event perceived as a success immediately leads to changing goals, strategies, and viewpoints. Nor can “success” be seen as an endpoint of effort, since language revitalization is an unending process —the effort must never stop, in a land where another language is the dominant and dominating tongue.  Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the Future Speakers: Indigenous Languages in the 21st Century series.

Speaker Bio

Leanne Hinton, professor emerita Department of Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley & Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival Leanne Hinton specializes in endangered languages and is an advocate and practicing trainer in the field of language revitalization. Hinton has helped found several organizations for language revitalization, and has helped design several widely-used revitalization programs and strategies. She has written and edited numerous books and articles on language revitalization, and has won several awards for her work.

The Museum of Anthropology, the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program, the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program, the Department of Linguistics, and the Department of Anthropology present a new lecture series supported by the Dean of Arts, and in partnership with the First Nations House of Learning and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, to spark a conversation about the futures of Indigenous languages in the 21st century.

Thursday October 22, 2015, 11.30-1.00PM at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Lillooet Room (Rm 301).

Select Articles and Books Available at UBC Library

Hinton, L. (2013). Bringing our languages home: Language revitalization for families. Berkeley, California: Heyday. [Available at Koerner Library – P40.5.L356 B75 2013]

Simpson, J., & Wigglesworth, G. (2008). Children’s language and multilingualism: Indigenous language use at home and school. New York;London;: Continuum. [Available at Koerner Library – P115.2 .C45 2008]

Tsunoda, T., & Ebrary Academic Complete (Canada) Subscription Collection. (2006;2013;). Language endangerment and language revitalization: An introduction Mouton de Gruyter. [Link]

UBC Library Research Guides

Aboriginal Languages

First Nations and Indigenous Studies

First Nations Languages of British Columbia



Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC Philosophy Department’s Stephen M. Straker Memorial Lecture. Professor Smith (Duke University) is a leading literary theorist and critic, and also a major contributor to Science and Technology Studies, bringing together insights from literary and critical theory with those from history and philosophy of science. Among her honours are visiting appointments at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the US National Humanities Center, and the Rockefeller Foundation Center at Bellagio. She is also the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts.


Indian-Horse“Wagamese pulls off a fine balancing act: exposing the horrors of the country’s residential schools while also celebrating Canada’s national game.” – James Grainger, Globe & Mail

“Wagemese’s writing qualifies as an act of courage.” – Donna Bailey Nurse, National Post

“If we want to live at peace with ourselves, we need to tell our stories.” – Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

In this emotional tale of Saul Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese tells the realistic story of a man whose life is drastically changed by one of Canada’s most painful histories. When Saul was a child he was taken away from his family and forced into an Indian Residential School where he witnessed and experienced unimaginable abuses at the hands of the school’s educators. In spite of the harrowing atrocities, it is at the school that Saul discovers his love of hockey, a game that, for a short time, serves as a means of escape. Saul’s talent leads to a draft with a minor league team and a spot on Team Canada during the 1972 Canada-Soviet Summit Series. However, as Saul grows into a man, he struggles with racism and alcohol addiction. Saul’s tumultuous adulthood eventually leads him back to his roots, where he confronts his past and begins a new journey towards healing.

Richard Wagamese is an Ojibway author from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in Northwestern Ontario. He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction works including For Joshua: An Ojibway Father Teaches His Son, Runaway Dreams, and Indian Horse. Wagamese has also been a journalist and, in 1991, became the first Aboriginal Canadian to receive the National Newspaper Award for Column Writing. His most recent novel, Indian Horse, was chosen as the winner of First Nation Communities Read, and is on the Globe and Mail’s bestseller’s list as well as the Canadian Booksellers Association’s bestseller’s list. Among his awards, Wagamese’s memoir One Native Life was listed as one of The Globe and Mail’s 100 Best Books of 2008. In 2010 he accepted an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Thompson Rivers University. Wagamese currently lives just outside of Kamloops, BC with his wife, Debra Powell, and Molly the Story Dog.

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC Museum of Anthropology. This panel followed a performance by artist Peter Morin entitled ‘Hello Darlin’’.

Chair:  John Wynne.
Panelists: Margery Fee, Patrick Moore, Peter Morin, Khelsilem Rivers.

This session explores the museum as a site of cultural contestation and issues of appropriation and commodification. How is cultural identity conveyed in art – by whom and for whom?  We hope to explore a variety of perspectives. One view is that in dealing with Indigenous issues, non-Indigenous artists and researchers are simply engaging in ‘metaphorical microcolonialism’ (Corbett).  Alternatively, some see in cross-cultural collaborations the potential for ‘a dialogue across the boundaries of oppositions’ (Smith).  As such, how do ethical considerations and artistic license co-exist?  Are issue-based and socially-engaged artistic practice simply a less effective form of activism or do they have a unique contribution to make in defining cultural identity and promoting recognition of the value of indigenous languages

About the Participants:

Margery Fee is a Professor of English at UBC where she teaches science fiction, science and technology studies and Indigenous literatures. In 2008, she was Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies, writing about how some discourses of genetics/genomics contribute to the racialization of minority groups, particularly Indigenous people. Her current research project is Wacousta’s Dilemma: Literature and Land Claims, which examines how land ownership figures in the work of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Patrick Moore is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. He has worked with Athabaskan languages in Alberta, the Yukon, and British Columbia for over three decades. With Angela Wheelock, he translated and co-edited Wolverine: Myths and Visions and Dene Gedeni: Traditional Lifestyles of Kaska Women. He edited a collection of Kaska stories Dene Gudeji: Kaska Narratives and wrote a Kaska, Mountain Slavey and Sekani noun dictionary Gūzāgi K’ū́gé’.

Peter Morin is a Tahltan Nation artist and curator. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, including the Royal Ontario Museum, Open Space (Victoria), MOA Satellite Gallery (Vancouver) and Urban Shaman Gallery (Winnipeg). His artistic practice investigates the impact between indigenous culturally-based practices and western settler colonialism. Morin recently completed a series of new performance works for the Indigenity in the Contemporary World research initiative at Royal Holloway University, London, UK.

Khelsilem Rivers was born in North Vancouver, BC in 1989 and recently given the names Sxwchálten and X̱elsílem by his paternal grandmother, Audrey Rivers (Tiyáltelut) of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. His work has been focused on the rebuilding of Indigenous language fluency in the face of language speaker decline. He is a strong believer that “languages don’t die in healthy communities”, and as such has worked on the concurrent effort of rebuilding healthy community through language-fluency revitalization and vice versa.

John Wynne is an award-winning sound artist whose work includes site-specific installations, ‘composed documentaries’ for radio, projects with speakers of endangered languages and a body of work with heart and lung transplant recipients. He has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London and is a Reader in Sound Arts at the University of the Arts London.


The public symposium ‘On Endangered Languages: Indigeneity, Community, and Creative Practice’ took place at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia on Sept. 14th, 2013. It was co-organized by Karen Duffek, Kate Hennessy, Tyler Peterson, and John Wynne.

Symposium Description:

As the multi-sensory installation Anspayaxw opens for exhibition in the Satellite Gallery in Vancouver, we bring artist John Wynne, linguist Tyler Peterson, anthropologist Kate Hennessy, Musqueam elder Larry Grant, and Gitxsan participants Louise Wilson and Barbara Harris into conversation with scholars and artists on the preservation of endangered languages, the interconnected role of digital media, and engagements with artistic practice.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith has described research as “probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary” – but as she also acknowledges, “at some points there is, there has to be, dialogue across the boundaries of oppositions.” Beyond the customary exploration of academic interests and language maintenance efforts, this symposium will problematize research and raise questions about the opportunities and consequences of language documentation for local communities and collaborating outsiders.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has drawn attention to the enduring significance of Indigenous languages. Against this backdrop we will explore some of the ways in which language documentation is being used by speakers to communicate identity, sovereignty, and contemporary representations of community. We will further examine the ethical and moral obligations created in the act of documentation, while questioning how research relationships and collaborations might raise awareness of the status of endangered languages. As documentary and archiving technologies rapidly change, we ask what role digital technology plays in the preservation––or conversely, the loss––of documentary media. What are appropriate uses and reuses of language documentation, and who, ultimately, are the beneficiaries of these documentary initiatives? In the context of Anspayaxw, are creative and artistic explorations of language documentation at odds with the goal of revitalization, or do they open up new possibilities for understanding the complex social and historical territory of ongoing colonial relationships?

Wynne’s Anspayaxw (2010) is a 12-channel sound and photography installation based on his collaborations with Tyler Peterson, artist/photographer Denise Hawrysio, and members of the Gitxsan community at Kispiox, British Columbia. Using innovative sound technology, the installation merges recordings of the endangered Gitxsanimaax language, oral histories, and songs with situational portraits of the participants and photographs of hand-made street signs on the reserve made by one of the participants in the 1970s. The work highlights the subjective nature of language documentation, interpretation, and creative expression. The complex relationships between linguistic researchers and language speakers are recognized and represented in image and sound, cut through by questions of power, ownership, and the desire to document, preserve, and revitalize endangered languages.

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC Museum of Anthropology. Chair: Tyler Peterson. Panelists: Pat Shaw, Louise Wilson, Barbara Harris, Cynthia Jensen-Fisk, Larry Grant. In recent decades there has been a flurry of language documentation, maintenance, and revitalization initiatives. In this session we engage in the ongoing discussion of the ways these initiatives can be developed and directed. Using the Gitxsan project as a starting point, this entails touching on issues surrounding language community involvement, the linguist-speaker research relationship, community-led language activities, and the sustainability of long-term projects. We will also extend this discussion by asking: What are the ethical and creative boundaries of what we might call a ‘traditional’ language documentation and/or maintenance project?

About the Panelists

Pat Shaw is the founding Chair (1996-present) of the First Nations Languages Program at UBC. She has worked in close collaboration with several critically endangered language communities to record and analyze extant grammatical knowledge, to teach research skills and archiving methodologies, and to develop pedagogical materials for language revitalization.

Louise Wilson  Atdi anlakthl wa’ay, Anspayaxw wil sa’witx’wi.  Wilps Luushl wil xsilag’y, Lax Gibuu dihl Galdo’oo.  My name is Antdi anlakt, I am from Anspayxw.  I am from the House of Luus, Wolf clan from Galdo’oo.

Barbara Harris is a Gitksan elder from Kispiox, BC. Over the past decade she has dedicated considerable time and effort to Gitksan language maintenance and revitalization. She also works closely with linguists at the UBC department of linguistics, and has made substantial contributions to deepening our understanding of the finer points of the Gitksan language. She is one of 6 Gitxsan speakers featured in John Wynne’s Anspyaxw installation.

Cynthia Jensen-Fisk  Cindyhl wa’y ii Laax Lo’ophl wa’m Gitx’san’y. Gisk’haast wil naa t’ahl’y ii wilps Geel wil saa witxw’y ii Ansbayaxw wil saa witxw’y. My name is Cindy and Laax Lo’op is my Gitx’san name. My clan is Fireweed. I am from the house of Geel, from the village of Ansbayaxw. I started the Doreen Jensen Memorial Gitx’san Language Class in 2009 in memory of my mother. She believed that both the language and the culture of the Gitx’san were “Just sleeping”. She worked her entire life to re-awaken them. It is my honour to carry on the traditions of my ancestors and follow in my mother’s footsteps of paving the way to ensuring that our language and culture never dies.

Larry Grant is a Musqueam elder, and the current Elder-In-Residence for the First Nations House of Learning. Born and raised in Musqueam traditional territory by a traditional henqeminem speaking Musqueam family, Larry worked for 4 decades as a tradesman before enrolling in the First Nations Languages Program. His time in the program revived his memory of the embedded value that the henqeminem language has to self-identity, kinship, culture, territory, and history prior to European contact. Larry is presently assisting in the revitalization of henqeminem and co-teaching the introductory henqeminem course.

Select Articles Available at UBC

Shaw, Patricia A. (2001). Language and identity, language and the land. Pacific Affairs. Vancouver, Canada, 39-55 Autumn 2001. [Link]

UBC  Research Guides

Aboriginal Languages

Aboriginal Maps and Mapping

Aboriginal Studies

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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