Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Leda Jules (Liard First Nation)
In linguistic field research, “collaboration” is increasingly hailed as best practice. Leonard and Haynes’s (2010) propose that for a research to be truly collaborative, it must consist of a “multi-directional empowerment in which the shared beliefs in the value and design of the research project empower all parties to articulate their needs and fully incorporate their expertise for the final goals to be achieved. Meek (2007) identified multiple forms of local and external disjunctures associated with language revitalization. Locally language loss is linked to disruptions in socialization and cultural practices and loss of knowledge, while externally it is often framed as the loss of unique linguistic system. However, disjunctures are also points of ruptures of various scales, with the potential to alter and shift language revitalization practices, leading to a more reflexive language behavior and opportunities for productive collaborations.We reflect on community-based collaborations between academic researchers and Kaska community members in the Yukon, where the identified goals and priorities include the need for ongoing language documentation and linguistic research, the building of local capacity to ensure the sustainability of Kaska language work, and the undertaking of strategic steps to reverse language loss by creating new speakers. This collaborative model is guided fully by Kaska cultural protocols and informed by Kaska ways of knowing and understanding language and language practices, while also taking into consideration other, non-Kaska approaches and tools to achieve our objectives.