Foundation for Endangered Languages

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6. Letters to the Editor

Marius Barbeau - Canada's answer to J.P. Harrington

I received Ogmios 24 and especially enjoyed the article on Mr Harrington. What a story!

In Québec and Ontario we had Marius Barbeau, working with mines and natural resources in northern lands, then turning into a guy possessed, carrying wax recording cylinders on a bike, or bringing into town truckloads of indigenous artefacts (which now lie in the basements of the Canadian Museum of civilisations in Gatineau-Hull)!

Serena D'Agostino

Visit from Suya (Kiseji) community of the Xingu Park of Brazil
Daniel Everett of University of Manchester writes:
In early June or late May of 2005 there will be a visit to the UK of two representatives of the Suya (Kiseji) community of the Xingu Park of Brazil, sponsored by the UK's Arts and Humanities' Research Board and Economic and Social Science Research Council. There are two purposes for this trip. First, Kuiusi, the main chief of the Suya and one of the best-known leaders in the Xingu park, will be speaking about the importance of language and culture from his perspective as chief of a highly endangered group (there are only about 200 Suya left in the world). This lecture, by a dynamic and articulate spokesman from an Amazonian language will be a rare experience. The second purpose of the trip is to raise funds for a (yet-to-be-created) foundation for the preservation of the Kiseji culture and language.
(FEL has agreed to offerits services as an appropriate registered charity to receive and transmit these funds. - Ed.)
Although details are still being worked out, I would like to know how many departments might be interested in having Kuiusi (and his son-in-law and official interpreter, Gakomberi) speak at their university. Ideally, the audience would include not only linguists, anthropologists, etc. but also laypersons with interest or potential interest in the issue of language endangerment.
The Suya have some very well-thought out views on language and culture endangerment, intellectual property rights, and other issues that linguists and anthropologists often discuss, though at one remove from those most affected by the issues.
Aspects of Suya culture have been studied by Anthony Seeger, an ethnomusicologist at UCLA (formerly of the Smithsonian Institution). The AHRB and ESRC are sponsoring a three-year project to document and describe the Suya language.
If you believe that your university might be interested in hearing the Suya's perspective on language and cultural endangerment, could you please contact me at this email address?

Daniel L. Everett
Postgraduate Programme Director, and Professor of Phonetics & Phonology
Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL UK
Fax: +44-161-275-3187
Phone: +44-161-275-3158