What I’m Checking Out

Things I think are worth checking out, but don’t feel like writing entire blog posts about!

January 31st

Today I’m marvelling over this article about a woman who put together a Tlingit ‘language encyclopedia’, and wondering what would possess someone to do something like create a dictionary for a language they don’t speak (or apparently know much about)?  And to put that much effort into it?

Some of the quotes from this woman are really hard to stomach.

“I think often I’m led spiritually, and I don’t make my decisions with the full knowledge of the situation.”

Uh…ya think?  Look, this isn’t a made up language.  You can’t just ‘be led spiritually’ into learning it.

“To some degree I think I was trying to bring my mother and father back together through my Celtic heritage. My father had a little French, and my mother had a little Scottish. And I thought that when they lost their culture, they lost their reason for being together. And I think that deep in my heart I was looking for that family togetherness, and I wanted to find that through language.”


At least this is only a self-published book and not actually in wide circulation as a language resource.  But I don’t think she should be able to pass her work off as a language resource at all.


7 Responses to What I’m Checking Out

  1. SHARE. CITY. I know EXACTLY where this is going, for a start! Awesome is right!! Thanks again!

  2. I couldn’t stand it, I had to watch it again (after sharing, of course).

    YEE-HA! More of this!!

    In case anyone’s wondering, as far as I know I’m 100% white. 😉

    (And I’ve never been very proud of that, looking around, past and present…)

  3. Emo says:

    52 seconds to subvert the white establishment:
    No, I don’t think the establishment was shaken, but hey… short film of the year (in the “less than one minute” category).

    • That’s funny, I spent most of yesterday watching the 1491s and laughing until my sides hurt. The ‘represent’ series is something I really would like to see on mainstream tv. There are some other serious pieces they do about violence against women that are difficult to watch without crying.

      • Emo says:

        Thus, I think I can take credit for you not getting any work done yesterday (i.e., while catching up with the 1491s)…

        Their sense of humor very much reflects that they grew up watching the same TV that I did (i.e., not something I’m proud of, but…) and it was strange for me to realize at one point that they currently watch the same TV that I do now, when they made an offhand reference to APTN. Thus, there’s a very shallow (and direct) sense of cultural common ground there, although even the geography of where they’re from is very, very alien to me.

        You’ll note, however, that I hesitated before sending you that clip, as it was possible that you’d be gravely offended by the 1491s. Something came up in conversation a few weeks ago, and I googled around to find that there still are websites from people complaining about how offensive they found Dead Dog Café, e.g., this unintentionally hilarious page (written by people who take themselves very seriously in attacking the credentials of Jasper Friendly Bear) http://www.bluecorncomics.com/stype0a3.htm

        • Someone brought this up early on the blog…I think…or it was a show on APTN? Not sure. I haven’t seen it.

          The 1491s play on all sorts of stereotypes about natives…some of my favourites are found in their New Moon Casting Call skit, and the Occupy skit. It’s the kind of humour I’m used to among friends to be honest. What it is not, is carte blanche to non-natives to engage in these stereotypes, and a lot of it is ‘in’ humour.

          It’s entirely possibly that some natives find them offensive, and I’m certainly not going to attempt to speak for them, or say that because it doesn’t offend me, it shouldn’t offend them. I have to laugh at this stuff sometimes, or it’s just too damn depressing out there.

  4. Emo says:

    Occupy Alcatraz (NOT to be confused with Occupy Wall Street).

    Click to access 2003_winner.pdf

    Standing before the accumulated facts of history, we all seem puny and infinitely ignorant… but it is wonderful that the internet lets more and more of us have that sensation of at least standing before such facts, taking them in at a glance, even if we then can’t do much more than regret that we lack the time to know more.

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