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Published through the Recovering Languages and Literacies of the Americas initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
In this book of Native American language research and oral traditions, linguist John Lyon collects Salish stories as told by culture-bearer Lottie Lindley, one of the last Okanagan elders whose formative years of language learning were unbroken by the colonizing influence of English. Speaking in the Upper Nicola dialect of Okanagan, a Southern Interior Salish language, Lindley tells the stories that recount and reflect Salish culture, history, and historical consciousness (including names of locales won in battle with other interior peoples), coming-of-age rituals and marriage rites, and tales that attest to the self-understanding of the Salish people within their own history.
For each Okanagan Salish story, Lyon and Lindley offer a continuous transcription followed by a collaborative English translation of the story and an interlinear rendition with morphological analysis. The presentation allows students of the dialect, linguists, and those interested in Pacific Northwest and Interior Plateau indigenous oral traditions unencumbered access to the culture, history, and language of the Salish peoples.
With few native speakers left in the community, Okanagan Grouse Woman contributes to the preservation, presentation, and—with hope—maintenance and cultivation of a vital indigenous language and the cultural traditions of the Interior Salish peoples.
About the Author
Lottie Lindley (1930–2016) (Nicola Okanagan Salish) was a culture-bearer and one of the last fluent speakers of Nicola Okanagan. John Lyon is a postdoctoral researcher in linguistics at the University of Victoria.
“[The voice of] Lottie Lindley, full of both personal character and the reserved and patient wisdom of the elder, comes through the transcriptions clearly, movingly, and with cumulative power.”—Ursula K. LeGuin, winner of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
“This volume sets a new standard for combining accessibility to the speaker community and academic rigor.”—David Beck, professor of linguistics at the University of Alberta
“The collection is masterfully constructed, reflecting Lottie Lindley’s distinctive narrative voice in Okanagan and in English. At once a carefully annotated documentation of the Okanagan language as well as a record of history, culture, and land, the book is a testament to the power of narrative in Okanagan and a wonderful gift to future generations.”—Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins, associate professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria
“John Lyon has changed the mold somewhat in providing complete Nsyílxcen texts on a separate page, preceding the linguistic explanations. This gives advanced learners and teachers an invaluable resource: a wealth of written literature that can be read, enjoyed, and taught from.”—Michele K. Johnson, Syilx Language House Association