Mobilizing and Activating Haíɫzaqvḷa (Heiltsuk Language) and Culture Through a Community-University Partnership
Keywords:collaboration, culture, digitization, Heiltsuk, Indigenous, language reclamation
The sharing of existing linguistic resources through online platforms has become an increasingly important aspect in revitalization projects for Indigenous languages. This contribution addresses the urgency of such work through the lens of a partnership in support of one language, Haíɫzaqvḷa (Heiltsuk), a critically endangered Wakashan language spoken in and around the traditional Heiltsuk territory of Bella Bella, British Columbia. Alongside immediate community needs for language preservation and reclamation—informed and guided by Heiltsuk values and goals—lie important ethical and practical questions about how best to activate historic recordings of Elders and knowledge holders who have now passed. Our partnership was explicitly structured around the objective of helping to mobilize the large body of existing language
documentation and revitalization materials created in and by the community to support broader community access through digital technologies. Working within the fast-changing digital environment requires agility in order to respond to time-sensitive goals and the strategic needs of the community. Ensuring that such work is grounded in respectful collaboration requires ongoing care, consultation and consideration. The digital landscape is still a new and exciting space, and the opportunities to use online tools and technologies in service of language revitalization are ever increasing. We believe that the strategies, approaches and modest successes of the Heiltsuk Language and Culture Mobilization Partnership may be informative for other community-based language reclamation projects. We hope that outlining our experiences and being transparent about the challenges such partnerships face may help others engaged in this urgent and timely work.
Brown, Pam, Jennifer Carpenter, Gerry Lawson, Kim Lawson, Lisa Nathan, and Mark Turin. 2017. “Uplifting Voices.” In Reflections of Canada: Illuminating Our Opportunities and Challenges at 150+ Years, edited by Philippe Tortell, Peter Nemetz and Margot Young, 264–69. Vancouver, BC: Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
Charlton, Emma. 2018. “The Internet Has a Language Diversity Problem.” World Economic Forum, December 13, 2018. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/12/chart-of-the-day-the-internet-has-a-language-diversity-problem/. Archived at: https://perma.cc/W9WW-EQBK.
Dunlop, Britt, Suzanne Gessner, Tracey Herbert, and Aliana Parker. 2018. “Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages.” 3rd ed. First Peoples’ Cultural Council. http://www.fpcc.ca/files/PDF/FPCC-LanguageReport-180716-WEB.pdf. Archived at: https://perma.cc/FPY3-8V5U.
Haíɫzaqvl.a Authority Board. 2019. “Haíɫzaqvl.a Revitalization Strategic Plan: Setting Our Course for the Next Five Years 2019–2024.” http://www.heiltsuknation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Ha%C3%AD% C9% ABzaqv%E1%B8%B7a-Revitalization-Strategic-Plan.pdf. Archived at: https://perma.cc/UX96-Y8YU.
Heiltsuk Language & Culture Mobilization Partnership. 2021. “Híɫzaqv Dictionary.” https://mothertongues.org/heiltsuk/dictionary/#/about. Archived at: https://perma.cc/WDP4-KA2C.
Kruijt, Anne, and Mark Turin. 2017. “Review Article on Language Endangerment.” Language in Society 46 (2): 257–69. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404517000161.
McGregor, Catherine, Onowa McIvor, and Patricia Rosborough. 2016. “Indigenous Communities and Community-Engaged Research: Opportunities and Challenges.” In “Engaging with Indigenous Communities,” edited by Winona Wheeler and Robert Innes, special issue, Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning 2 (1): 1–16. https://doi.org/10.15402/esj.v2i1.195.
Pine, Aidan, and Mark Turin. 2017. “Language Revitalization.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics, edited by Mark Aronoff. Oxford University Press, March 29, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.013.8.
Pine, Aidan, and Mark Turin. 2019. “Using Technology to Help Revitalize Indigenous Languages.” OUPblog, June 24, 2019. https://blog.oup.com/2019/06/using-technology-help-revitalize-indigenous-languages/. Archived at: https://perma.cc/8JAT-3D8Z.
Pinto, Renata Ávila. 2018. “Digital Sovereignty or Digital Colonialism?” SUR: International Journal of Human Rights 27: 15–28. HeinOnline Law Library Journal. https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/surij27&i=16.
Rath, John C. 1985. Ways of Writing. Bella Bella, BC: Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre.
Rath, John C. 1981. A Practical Heiltsuk-English Dictionary: With a Grammatical Introduction. Canadian Ethnology Service, Paper 75. 2 vols. Ottawa, ON: National Museums of Canada.
Rath, John, ed. 1974. A First Course in Heiltsuk. Bella Bella, BC: Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre.
Schillo, Julia, and Mark Turin. 2019. “Cree Language Use in Contemporary Children’s Literature.” Book 2.0 9 (1–2): 163–70. https://doi.org/10.1386/btwo_00015_1.
Schillo, Julia, and Mark Turin. 2020. “Applications and Innovations in Typeface Design for North American Indigenous languages.” Book 2.0 10 (1): 71–96. https://doi.org/10.1386/btwo_00021_1.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Jennifer Carpenter, Bridget Chase, Benjamin Chung, Robyn Humchitt, Mark Turin
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.