Óki! I am entering my third year of studies in the Modern Languages department at the University of Lethbridge. I am passionate about everything that has to do with language, culture, and travel. Languages have quite literally taken me around the world, but after hearing about Dr. Inge Genee’s Blackfoot digital dictionary project, I was immediately interested in learning more about the language and culture right here at home. I grew up in Southern Alberta, but I felt that my knowledge of Blackfoot language and culture was lacking. In an attempt to remedy this, I tried to learn as much as I could throughout the summer, with a particular interest in learning as many Blackfoot words and phrases as I could.
I am honoured to have been selected to work on a project that is positively contributing to the revitalization of the Blackfoot language. I believe that it is extremely important to preserve First Nation’s languages all across Canada and the world, and I am grateful to all the people that have made efforts before me to promote the survival and advancement of these languages. I have had the opportunity to work with an outstanding team of Blackfoot speakers and linguists this summer. I have done my best to help out in any way I am able to on this project. Some of the major contributions I have made to the dictionary are processing large quantities of audio files to be added to the dictionary, entering metadata to ensure proper microcredits are given to all who contribute, launching a social media strategy to help spread the word about this project, and creating help pages to assist new users with navigating the dictionary.
Now that the summer is nearing its close, I feel proud of what the team has accomplished and I am eager to see what the future holds for this project. I love to tell people about this project, and it is my genuine hope that the work that we have done will help Blackfoot learners and speakers on their journey of language learning. I am going to continue to learn everything I can about the Blackfoot language as well as linguistics. I have gained many valuable skills from working on this project, but, most importantly, I have gained insight into Blackfoot culture, especially with the guidance of my friend and coworker, Rachel Hoof.
I want to thank the team that I worked closely with this summer: Inge, Rachel, Myles, Blaise, and Don. They have all worked tirelessly on this project and have helped guide me on my own journey during this exciting summer of research.