September 27, 2010

Wampanoag linguist is MacArthur genius

'Genius grant' a boost to linguist as she revives a native language

Jessie Little Doe Baird will receive a $500,000 grant.

By Laura Collins-Hughes
Jessie Little Doe Baird was overcome at the news that her 17 years of linguistic work—resurrecting the language the Wampanoag people spoke and wrote until at least the mid-1800s—had landed her a MacArthur Fellows "genius grant" of $500,000. The 23 recipients of this year's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grants, including five others from New England, were announced this morning.

When the foundation notified Baird, 46, a Mashpee linguist and the program director of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, two weeks ago of the fellowship, the honor brought her to tears. As far as she knows, her 6-year-old daughter is the only child since the 19th century raised from birth to speak Wampanoag (or, in that language, Wôpanâak).
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Alutiiq Anthropologist Is MacArthur Genius and The Making of Wounded Knee.

1 comment:

Mary Jane said...

She is amazing! We are NOT dead people, we survived and are now LIVING!