Blackfoot Language Group

BLG Creative Projects

The Blackfoot Language Group (BLG) is led by Mizuki Miyashita in the Linguistics Program at the University of Montana. The aim of the BLG is to produce materials for Blackfoot language teaching. The Blackfoot language is spoken by the members of the Siksika, Kainai, and Pikani tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy. BLG is grateful for being able to work with amazing individuals of the community who are speakers, teachers and learners of the language. BLG hopes to support the sustainability of the language and the Indigenous Knowledge that language encodes.

Those who actively participated in the BLG projects are student volunteers from the University of Montana. The BLG peojects were most active ifrom 2007 to 2013. The picture on the right are BLG creative project members in 2011: back - Jeremy Lee, Sara Schroeder, Rebecca Yares, Annabelle Chatsis, Shiho Yamamoto; Front - Jackelyn Van Buren, Mizuki Miyashita.

 

Acknowledgements
BLG members consulted the following experts and appreciates their guidance and collaboration:
Don Frantz (University of Lethbridge) Blackfoot linguistics consultation
Darrell Kipp (Piegan Institute) Community collaboration
Joycelyn DesRosier, Megan Lunak (Cuts Wood School)
Annabelle Chatsis (University of Montana 2010-2011) Language consultation
Chuck Harris (Social Science Research Lab at the University of Montana)

Picture Books

BLG created two picture books Ponoka ki Sisttsi and O'towaawahkaa'op Ponoka. The stories developed by the volunteers. Words used in the book are simple and appropriate for use in beginning class, indipendent learners, communities, and families. The pictures are colorful and the backgrounds contain nature; useful for language learning when describing these scenes. The development process has been presented at the 2nd International Conference on Languageveloping and Ae Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

  •  (2011) Jeremy Lee, Sara Schroeder, Shiho Yamamoto, Mizuki Miyashita and Annabelle Chatsis. “Drchiving Open-Source Blackfoot Teaching Materials.”  2nd International Conference on Languageveloping and Ae Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC) Honolulu, Hawai'i. Scheduled on Feb. 12th 2011. 

Copies of these books were braught to Piegan Institute, and they were also used in a Blackfoot Language Class at the University of Montana by Annabelle Chatsis when she taught the language on campus. 

There was an acquisition request by Calgary Public Library. However, since the goal of BLG is not to make profit, these are not for sale. Instead, a copy of these books were donated. The term of use is currently under development.  

Video Picture Books

BLG crated animated version of the two picture books Ponoka ki Sisttsi and O'towaawahkaa'op Ponoka. 

 

 Brief history and the development of the videoclips were presented at conferences:

  • (2012) Jackelyn Van Buren, Rebecca Yares, Scott Schupbach, Annabelle Chatsis, and Mizuki Miyashita. “Teaching an Endangered Language with Animation.”  Conference on Endangered Languages and Cultures of Native America. University of Utah.
  • (2011) S. Schroeder, J. Lee, S. Yamamoto, R. Yares, J. Van Buren A. Chatsis, and M. Miyashita. “Creation and Application of Animated Digital Picture Book for Teaching Blackfoot.” 7th Annual Conference on Endangered Languages and Cultures of Native America. University of Utah.

Blackfoot Audio-Vocabulary

This project caused the inception of BLG. Recordings of vocabulary list compiled by Jack Holterman were made by the late Darrell Kipp, co-founder of the Piegan Institute. Miyashita worked with her students (2007-2009) to make them available to view via a browser. The project's short history and the process were shared at Conference on Endangered Language and Culture of North America (CELCNA) in 2008 and 2009.

  • (2009) Mizuki Miyashita, Ryan Denzer-King and Miranda McCarvel. “Online Implementation on Blackfoot Language Materials” Conference on Endangered Language and Culture of North America. University of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah. March.
  • (2008) Mizuki Miyashita, Joshua Birchall and Meredith Ward. “Creating a Blackfoot Audio-Online Dictionary.” Conference on Endangered Language and Culture of North America. University of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah. March.

BLG Student Volunteers

Jackelyn Van Buren (2010-2012)
Rebecca Yares (2010-2012)
Jeremy Lee (2009-2011)
Sara Schroeder (2009-2011)
Shiho Yamamoto (2010-2011)
Ryan Denzer-King (2009-2010)
Miranda McCarvel (2009-2010)
Joshua Birchall (2007-2008)
Meredith Ward (2007-2008)