How Have Aboriginal North Americans Responded to Writing Systems in Their Own Languages?
Nov 8, 2012, 6-7PM
Barbara Burnaby of Memorial University of Newfoundland will deliver a talk Thursday, titled "How Have Aboriginal North Americans Responded to Writing Systems in Their Own Languages?"
Despite numerous tragic injustices, conflicts and misunderstandings over the centuries among European newcomers, Aboriginal inhabitants and their respective descendants, a myriad of creative outcomes have evolved from the contact between them, not the least being unique forms and practices of literacy in North American indigenous languages. Reliable information about Aboriginal language literacy is largely scattered, even buried, in various kinds of documents, mostly written by non-Aboriginal people. However, in recent decades, research on literacy among Aboriginal people has diversified and Aboriginal writers have contributed their specific views on the topic of literacy in their environment.
The current paper literature on Aboriginal literacy in North America to explore Aboriginal perspectives on literacy in their languages from direct and indirect documentation. Because the literature is fragmentary at best and, until recently, largely recorded only from Euro- North Americans points of view, a thematic approach has been taken here to indicate possible trends throughout the complex history of North America since 1500.