Experts for National Indigenous Languages Day

Education, Fine Arts, Humanities

A field journaling and emotional mapping exercise was part of a recent UVic third-year geography course’s language-learning experience. (Photo credit: Maleea Acker)

National Indigenous Languages Day was first celebrated on March 31, 1993. The following University of Victoria experts are available to media for comment on the following themes.

Sonya Bird (Linguistics) is a linguist and expert on Indigenous languages spoken in Canada, with decades of first-hand experience working with Indigenous communities across BC. Bird’s community-grounded research focuses on pronunciation in the context of Indigenous language revitalization and on overcoming barriers to oral proficiency and fluency for learners of Pacific Northwest languages. She can comment on a range of topics related to Indigenous languages and Indigenous language revitalization, including the current state of academic research in this field and the role of community-university partnerships. (Email at )

Belinda kakiyosēw Daniels (Indigenous Education) is a member of Sturgeon Lake First Nation. She is a celebrated educator, collaborative researcher and community leader. She teaches Indigenous language revitalization at UVic and leads the nēhiyawak language experience, a non-profit organization that offers immersive, land-based summer language learning camps on Treaty 6 territory also known as Saskatchewan. Her mission is to reclaim sovereignty and nationhood through the Cree language. (Email at )

Onowa McIvor (Indigenous Education) is maskékow-ininiw (Swampy Cree) and Scottish-Canadian. She is a lifelong learner of her maternal nehinaw language and can comment on Indigenous language learning; Indigenous language-in-education policy; assessment; and links between language use, health and well-being. McIvor leads the national NEȾOLṈEW̱ Research Partnership—a seven-year community-based project working to understand and enhance Indigenous adults’ contributions to reviving Indigenous languages in Canada—and is available to speak about this collective work. (Email at )

Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta (Theatre) is an applied theatre practitioner who specializes in Indigenous theatre and language revitalization, theatre in war and (post)-conflict zones. She is leading a multi-year project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, with speakers of the Hul’q’umi’num’ language finding ways to use theatre as a tool for Coast Salish language reawakening. (Email at )

Suzanne Urbanczyk (Linguistics) is a linguist and expert on Indigenous language revitalization on Vancouver Island, with decades of first-hand experience working with local Salish and Wakashan communities. Her research focuses on word structure, writing and pronunciation of the Salish languages ʔayʔaǰuθəm (Mainland Comox), and Hul’q’umi’num’ (Island Halkomelem), and the Wakashan languages Nuu-chah-nulh and Kwak̓wala. She is available to speak about past and present Indigenous language revitalization efforts in BC, the collaborative role of universities and academic researchers in supporting Indigenous language revitalization, and the use of archival and historical documents in these efforts. (Email at )

Explore a collection of UVic stories to mark March 31: Reflections on National Indigenous Languages Day lay path of learning into the future

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In this story

Keywords: Indigenous, languages and linguistics, community, reconciliation

People: Belinda kakiyosēw Daniels, Onowa McIvor, Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta, Suzanne Urbanczyk

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