January 13, 2009

Passamaquoddy-Maliseet dictionary

Natives, educators hail release of dictionaryPerley estimates that less than two per cent of the 5,000 Passamaquoddy- Maliseet people living in a handful of communities in New Brunswick, Maine and Quebec are fluent in their native tongue.

But her ongoing struggle to preserve and restore the language to common use has been given a major boost with the release of a Passamaquoddy-Maliseet dictionary.

Authored by David A. Francis, a former tribal governor from Maine, and Robert A. Leavitt, a former member of UNB's faculty of education, the book represents 30 years of collaboration between native speakers, educators and linguists.

Its more than 18,000 entries contain remarkable detail about the physical, spiritual, social and emotional environments of the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet peoples, who called most of the region home before the arrival of European settlers.

When It's Gone It's Gone recognized

Norman students hope film helps rescue native tongues

Norman club interviewed tribal elders for award-winning language documentaryA documentary about the dying languages of American Indian tribes has received state honors for a group of Norman students, and is being used in classrooms as a teaching tool.

Students in Norman High School’s Native American Club were recognized recently by state Education Department officials for their documentary, titled "When It’s Gone, It’s Gone.”

The students interviewed tribal elders representing American Indian tribes in Oklahoma and asked them about their native languages and the struggle to keep their languages and cultures alive.

Most of the elders on the video are in their 80s and have witnessed the languages of their tribes dying out as the younger generations were raised in an English-speaking society.