Save the language. (Mohiks - Mohegan)
As usual these days, it has been a while since my last entry. So far it’s been a busy summer as a research assistant working with data on the Southwest Monguor language of Tongren, China, a Mongolic language with which I had no prior familiarity. The language has a Mongolic base with infusions of Tibetan (primarily through the practice of Buddhism) and Chinese (the dominant nationality and culture).
As for my own research, in a few weeks I will be making a trip to Boston from where I will drive down to southeastern Connecticut to the Mohegan (Mohican) reservation, home of the popular Mohegan Sun Casino. I will be spending a few days with the tribal linguist to gather data on the Mohegan language (Eastern Algonquian), which has been “sleeping” since 1908. They have a language revitalization program in place (click here to learn more), and classes are being taught. I will be working on Mohegan for my PhD dissertation, and thus indirectly assisting in the efforts of their language revitalization program. On this trip, I will also be driving up to Portland, Maine to meet the only living speaker of Penobscot, another “sleeping” Eastern Algonquian language. I hope to gain some insight from Penobscot data to assist in the Mohegan revitalization efforts. Needless to say, the idea of assisting in the Mohegan Nation's language revitalization efforts is exciting!
I also recently attended the Siouan and Caddoan Linguistics Conference (SCLC) in Joplin, Missouri. It was a good opportunity to spend time with fellow Siouanists and meet some Native Americans of the Omaha, Ioway-Otoe, Osage, and Hochunk (Winnebago) nations, all involved in their own language revitalization efforts in various stages of progress. Despite my upcoming new adventures in Eastern Algonquian, I still continue my efforts in preparing a revised Biloxi (Siouan) dictionary and ethnography. I also recently submitted an article of a translated Rumsen Ohlone (Penutian) text to the Journal of Folklore Research, which is still under review and which I hope will get published.