Nov. 12, 2020
Congratulations to Heather Bliss!
Congratulations to alumna and adjunct professor in Linguistics, Heather Bliss.
Bliss, along with collaborators Ikino’motstaan Noreen Breaker, Naatoopii Lee Breaker, and LeeAnne Ireland, has received a “Most Impactful Paper” award from the International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (2020).
The paper is a collaboration between Bliss, Noreen Breaker and Lee Breaker from the Siksika Nation and LeeAnne Ireland from the Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth. The team received the “Most Impactful Paper” award from The 7th International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (ICLDC): Recognizing Relationships, for their abstract focusing on their experiences developing the script for a graphic novel titled Finding Victor.
According to Bliss, "LeeAnne Ireland, the Executive Director of USAY (Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth), asked Noreen, Lee, and I to work on the script of the graphic novel “Finding Victor.” A narrative had already been drafted, with contemporary themes that are appropriate and relevant for Indigenous youth. The idea was to integrate Blackfoot words into the English text so that Blackfoot language learners could acquire culturally-relevant vocabulary. The other advantage of having a “code-mixed” Blackfoot/English script is that it helps to destigmatize code-mixing; it’s something that many Blackfoot learners and speakers do. Adding Blackfoot to the script required a joint effort. Noreen, as a fluent speaker, identified Blackfoot vocabulary. Lee, as a second-language learner, advised on how to incorporate Blackfoot into the script in a way that is natural and authentic. And myself as a linguist specializing in Blackfoot, advised on issues of Blackfoot grammar and English/Blackfoot code-mixing." A complicating factor is that all of this coordination had to be conducted remotely, however it does not appear to have deterred or slowed down Bliss and her collaborators' efforts.
You can watch the animated version of the Blackfoot graphic novel, Finding Victor below.
Blackfoot Graphic Novel – Finding Victor
Set around Victor, an Indigenous artist that has recently lost a close friend which has been the catalyst to a downward spiral into partying, criminal activity and ultimately homelessness. The intention of this graphic novel is to engage the reader with this story and to begin conversations about particularly challenging topics and to ultimately encourage them to reach out to access supports.
Please join us in congratulating Heather Bliss, Noreen Breaker, Lee Breaker, and LeeAnne Ireland on their incredible work and “Most Impactful Paper” award from The 7th International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (ICLDC): Recognizing Relationships.