Biographies

The people whose biographies are included here include important historical figures, current community leaders and elders, authors of publications, and other people who have played a role in language work.

Alphabetical Index

Emmon Bach

A linguist specializing in semantics and mathematical linguistics. Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he was President of the Linguistic Society of America in 1994. He has worked extensively on Haisla in Kitimat and and has helped to develop Haisla language courses and teaching materials. See the Haisla Bibliography for his work. He has co-taught Haisla courses offered under the auspices of the University of Northern British Columbia.

Emmon Bach
Emmon Bach

Sage Birchwater

Sage grew up in Victoria, where he had another name. As a young man, he became a hippie; then he became a trapper. His life as a trapper brought him into contact with Ulkatcho people, with whom he wrote Ulkatcho: Stories of the Grease Trail and Ulkatchot'en: The People of Ulkatcho and helped to write Ulkatcho Food and Medicine Plants. He has also helped to run cultural and educational programs. He currently lives in Taklayoko, where he is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to his work with Ulkatcho, he is the author of the book Chiwid, a biography of a Chilcotin woman.

Catherine Bird

Catherine Bird, née Prince, also known as Catherine Coldwell, is YDLI's senior language instructor. She is a Nak'azdli band member. She began working on the Dakelh language with the Carrier Linguistic Committee in Fort Saint James in the 1960s. It was due to her persistence that Dakelh language instruction was introduced to the public schools. She taught Dakelh at the primary and secondary level in various schools for many years and was the senior instructor in the Yinka Dene Language Institute's teacher training programme. From 1996 through 1999 she was the President of the Carrier Linguistic Committee. In 1998-1999 she taught Dakelh at the University of Northern British Columbia.

She is the author of the children's books The Boy Who Snared the Sun, and The Robin and the Song Sparrow, and other teaching materials. She was also one of the authors of the Central Carrier Bilingual Dictionary, the first modern Dakelh dictionary.

Catherine Bird
Catherine Bird in 1974

Tanya Marie Bob

Of Tahltan and Tsimshian descent, the daughter of artist Dempsey Bob. In 1999 she completed an M.A. in Linguistics at the University of British Columbia with a thesis on Laryngeal Phenomena in Tahltan..

Laura Marie Boyd

Laura Boyd is a Nazko band member who has devoted much of her life to teaching Dakelh language and culture and developing materials for teaching culture. She is the author of 'Utsoo and I, My Home Forever and For Someone Special. She received her B.A. in First Nations Studies from the University of Northern British Columbia in 1998. She has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the College of New Caledonia.

Brian D. Compton

Brian Compton received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in botany from the Eastern Illinois University and the Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. He has been engaged in research and teaching on the ethnobiology of British Columbia First Nations since 1986. He helped to edit Harlan Smith's Ethnobotany of the Gitksan Indians of British Columbia. He is also one of the people responsible for the Halkomelem Ethnobiology Web Site. He is presently a member of the faculty of the Department of Humanities and Native Studies at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington.

Gloria Duncan

Gloria Duncan, daughter of Mildred Martin, has been a language teacher in Tache for many years. Since 1997 she has also been a Tl'azt'en Nation band councilor. Together with her aunt Catherine Bird she took language teacher training at the Yukon Native Language Centre in Whitehorse. Upon her return, she become one of the language teacher trainers at the Yinka Dene Language Institute.

Marlene Erickson

The daughter of the late Sally (Prince) Erickson and Lewis Erickson, she is a Nak'azdli band member and a member of the Lusilyoo clan. She received a B.A. in Anthropology from Western Washington University with emphasis on First Nations Studies. She and is currently working on an M.A. in First Nations Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia. She is the Coordinator of First Nations Education Support Services at the College of New Caledonia. She is also a member of the Aboriginal Education Board for School District 57 and is a member of the Advisory Board of the First People's Cultural Foundation. She has been President of the Yinka Dene Language Institute since 1997.

Mavis Erickson

The daughter of the late Sally (Prince) Erickson and Lewis Erickson, Mavis Erickson is a member of the Lusilyoo clan. Originally from Nak'azdli, she is a member of the Nadleh First Nation. She received a B.A. in History from the University of British Columbia, after which she worked for the Yinka Dene Language Institute in its early years. Later, she returned to the University of British Columbia and received her Bachelor's Degree in Law in 1995. In 1996 she received a Master's Degree in Law from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the bar of British Columbia, associated with the firm of Wagstaffe, Gosh, and Co. She was elected Chief of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council in 1997 and re-elected in 2000.

Elizabeth Furniss

Elizabeth Furniss (1959-) is a historian who was employed by the Cariboo Tribal Council to produce two books on the history and culture of Dakelh people: Dakelh Keyoh: The Southern Carrier in Earlier Times and Changing Ways: Southern Carrier History 1793-1940. She is also the author of Victims of Benevolence: Discipline and Death at the Williams Lake Indian Residential School, 1891-1920. (Williams Lake: Cariboo Tribal Council. 1992.) She is currently Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary.

Margaret Gagnon

Margaret Gagnon was born August 31, 1914 at Shelly, the main reserve of the Lheidli T'enneh, outside of Prince George. She is the oldest of the Lheidli elders. She had twenty children but lost quite a few of them. One terrible year, she lost five of them at one time to poisoned water.

For additional information see Return to Balhats.

Ken Hale

Ken Hale grew up in a small town outside of Tucson, Arizona. From his friends, he learned to speak Tohono O'odham (Papago), the first of the many native languages that he studied. This was followed by Jemez, Hopi, and Navajo, all by the time he finished university. His last year at the University of Arizona he won the bull-riding event at the University rodeo. After graduate training at the University of Indiana and several years in Australia studying Australian aboriginal languages, Ken joined the linguistics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he retired in 1999.

Ken knew Navajo well and made many contributions to the study of Navajo. Many years ago, together with Geoffrey O'Grady, he spent some time in British Columbia and made an early study of Tahltan.

In addition to his many contributions to linguistic theory, Ken Hale is known for three things. One is his extraordinary ability to learn to speak languages well in a short time. The second is his devotion to recording endangered languages before they disappear and to helping to preserve them where possible. Among his contributions is his role in training many of the small number of First Nations people who have advanced training in linguistics. The last is his personality: all who had the privilege of knowing him agree that he was an amazingly nice and modest man.

Ken Hale left this world on October 8, 2001.

Ken Hale
Ken Hale

Sharon L. Hargus

Sharon Hargus received the Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1983 for her work on the phonology and morphology of Sekani, later published as The Lexical Phonology of Sekani. Since 1985 she has taught in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Washington. Since 1986 she has worked on the Babine-Witsuwit'en, especially the Witsuwit'en dialect, on which she has published extensively. See the Babine-Witsuwit'en Bibliography. She has also worked on Deg-Hit'an in Alaska.

Although the largest part of her work has been on Athabaskan languages, she has also worked on Mapudungan (the native language of the Mapuche people of Argentina and Chile), Sahaptin, and Spanish.

Sharon Hargus
Hard at work in the laundromat in Smithers

John Peabody Harrington

Born in California, Harrington received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1905. After study at the Universtiy of California at Berkeley and the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig, he taught college briefly in Southern California. In 1914 he became a fieldworker for the Bureau of American Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, a position he held until he retired in 1954.

Harrington was obsessed with preserving a record of the dying native languages of the Americas. He worked at this tirelessly, rarely taking any kind of rest. He was so unwilling to take time away from his fieldwork that he left his paychecks uncashed for months at a time for fear that the Smithsonian Institution would learn where he was and recall him to Washington to spend time in the office.

Harrington was an excellant phonetician and recorded the languages he heard with unusual accuracy. He worked on native languages all over North America, but mostly in the West, especially in California. Harrington published very little during his lifetime and was very secretive. After he passed away in 1961, caches of his field notes began to turn up. The Smithsonian Institution eventually collected over 1,000,000 pages of his notes, on over 90 languages. For some languages, Harrington's records are the only accurate record. The material he left was so extensive that several detailed descriptions of extinct languages have been written based on them.

Harrington's fieldnotes were catalogued by Smithsonian Archivist Elaine L. Mills. The fieldnotes are available on microfilm, at US$80 per reel, from Norman Ross Publications. The Papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution 1907-1957, edited by Mills, originally published in 1981 by the defunct Kraus International Publications, now available from Norman Ross, can be used to determine the reels containing material on a particular language. The ten volumes are:

Norman Ross Publications
330 West 58th Street, New York, NY 10019 USA
tel: 212-765-8200
tel: 800-648-8850
fax: 212-765-2393
http://www.nross.com/
info@nross.com

Harrington was said to have learned to speak 18 native languages, including Chumash, one of the first languages he studied. He corresponded with Chumash friends in Chumash throughout his life. Even after his retirement he continued to work on Chumash with Mary Yee, the last speaker. During his final years, she took care of him.

A short description of Harrington, his work, and how he is remembered by Indians in California today may be found in Leanne Hinton's article "Ashes, Ashes: John Peabody Harringont - Then and Now" in her book Flutes of Fire (pp. 195-209). Some insight into Harrington may be had from the book Encounter with An Angry God by Carobeth Laird, who as a young woman was married to him for seven years. Since 1992 an annual conference has been held devoted to his work. Additional information about Harrington and the conference may be found on the Harrington website. Further information can be found at the web site of the J. P. Harrington Database Project.

Ileen Austin Heer

Ileen Heer grew up in K'uzche (Grand Rapids), a small remote community 250 km Northwest of Prince George. Her parents are Josephine and Frank Austin. She has worked for many years in the field of language and culture education. She has developed teaching materials, including the Carrier Teachers Manual for Oral Instruction and Ts'oodunne Hik'uyalhduk-i. Book One and has composed quite a few songs in Dakelh, some of which may be found in Dakelhne Bughuni.

Mercedes Quesney Hinkson

A native of Chile, Mercedes Hinkson received the B.A. in Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1976 and the M.A. in Linguistics from the University of California at San Diego in 1980. In 1999 she received the Ph.D. in Linguistics from Simon Fraser University with a dissertation on Salishan Lexical Suffixes: A Study in the Conceptualization of Space. From 1997 to 1999 she was Linguistics Coordinator for the Secwépmec Cultural Education Society/Simon Fraser University program. She is currently teaching Linguistics at Western Washington University.

Peter Jacobs

Like other people his age in his community, Peter Jacobs did not learn has language as a child. As a young man, he took the unusual step of learning his language from the elders and the available written materials. In 1992 he received a Master's degree in Linguistics from the University of Oregon. He is currently Squamish Nation Linguist.

Edward John

Tl'azt'en Nation Grand Chief Edward John holds the name 'Ukailch'oh in the Lusilyoo clan. He attended Notre Dame University in Nelson, B.C. before receiving a B.A. from the University of Victoria and an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia. He practiced law in his own firm in Prince George from 1981 to 1993. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria from 1990 to 1997.

He served as an elected Councillor of Tl'azt'en Nation from 1974 to 1990 and as elected Chief from 1990 to 1992. From 1984 to 1988 he was Chief of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council. From 1992 until 1999 he was Chief Treaty Negotiator for the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council. He is also Chairman of the Board of Tanizul Timber and Teeslee Forest Products, companies owned by Tl'azt'en Nation.

Ed was the First Nations representative to the First Minister's Conference on aboriginal constitutional rights from 1983 to 1987. In 1991, along with the late Squamish Chief Joe Matthias, he helped to create the First Nations Summit, the organization representing the BC First Nations involved in treaty negotiations with Canada and British Columbia. This group produced the tripartite Task Force Report that led to the current treaty process. From 1993 to 2000 he was a member of the Task Group of the First Nations Summit.

Grand Chief John was the founding President of the Yinka Dene Language Institute. He was also involved in establishing the University of Northern British Columbia. He played a prominent role in the Interior University Society, the regional organization whose pressure led to the creation of UNBC, and subsequently served on the Implementation Council and the Interim Governing Council, the predecessor to the Board of Governors.

On November 1, 2000 he was appointed to the provincial cabinet as Minister for Children and Families, serving until the change of government in June. In the election of May 16, 2001 he was the NDP candidate for Member of the Legislative Assembly from the Prince George-Omineca riding. He is presently a member of the Task Group of the First Nations Summit.

Mary John, Sr.

(1913-2004) The late Mary John, Sr. was one of the founders of the Yinka Dene Language Institute and held the position of Permanent Honorary Chair. Born in Lheidli (Prince George), she was raised in Saik'uz. At the age of nine, she went to school in Fort Saint James, from which she moved to Lejac Residential School the next year when it was created. She left school when she was 14 and married Lazare John when she was 16. She was known as "senior" to distinguish her from her daughter-in-law, Mary John, Jr. The story of her life is told in the book Stoney Creek Woman. Here is the eulogy delivered at her funeral.

Mary John, Sr.
Receiving the Order of Canada from Governor-General Roméo LeBlanc

James Kari

Jim Kari is a leading scholar of Athabaskan languages. His early work dealt with Navajo, but after moving to the Alaska Native Language Center, he worked primarily on the Athabaskan languages of Alaska. He is the author of the Ahtna Dictionary, among other works, He retired from ANLC in 1997 but is still actively engaged in research.

Michael Krauss

Mike Krauss is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. He has been the director of the Alaska Native Language Center since its creation in 1972. He has worked extensively on Athabaskan and Eskimo-Aleut languages. He is responsible for the bulk of the documentation for the otherwise little known Eyak language, and has been a major contributor to the historical study of Athabaskan languages. He has also played a major role in drawing attention to the endangered language crisis.

Kw'eh

(c. 1755-1840). Usually known in English as Kwah, Chief Kw'eh was the chief of what is now the Nak'azdli band in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In his time, few people lived at Nak'azdli, which attracted people due to the location of the Northwest Company (later Hudson's Bay Company) fort there, which was not established until 1806. The main village was located at Tsaooche "Sowchea".

Chief Kw'eh held the very important name Ts'oh Dai in the Lhts'umusyoo clan. It was Chief Kw'eh who received the explorer Simon Fraser in 1806 when Dakelh people brought his floundering canoes in to Tsaooche village in Sowchea Bay. In grattitude, Simon Fraser presented Kw'eh with red cloth. The current Ts'oh Dai, Kw'eh's descendant Peter Erickson, returned red cloth to Canada in 1997.

Chief Kw'eh is also known for the incident in which, in 1828, he took prisoner James Douglas, who later became the first governor of the united colony of British Columbia.

The genealogy of Chief Kw'eh's many descendants may be found in the book Kw'eh Ts'u Haindene by his great-granddaughter, the late Bernadette Rosetti.

The Grave of Chief Kw'eh
The Grave of Chief Kw'eh in Nak'azdli

Jeff Leer

Jeff Leer is a member of the faculty of the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, where he has worked since 1973. In 1991 he received a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Chicago. He began to study Tlingit at age seven in his home town of Juneau. He holds the Tlingit name Weha. He has also worked extensively on Aluutiq. He is a leading scholar in the area of comparative Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit.

Robert Levine

Bob Levine received the Ph.D. in Linguistics from Columbia University in New York City in 1977 with a dissertation on The Skidegate Dialect of Haida. He was for some years one of the two linguists in the now defunct Linguistics Department of the Royal British Columbia Museum. In addition to Haida he also worked extensively on Kwak'wala. He is currently Professor of Linguistics at the Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio.

Alexander MacKenzie

Sir Alexander MacKenzie (1763-1820) was a Scotsman in the employ of the Northwest Company. In 1793 he travelled across Canada from Montreal reaching the Pacific Ocean at Bella Coola. His party were the first Europeans north of Mexico to reach the Pacific Ocean overland, preceding the American Lewis and Clark Expedition, which did not reach the Pacific until 1805. For his accomplishment he ws knighted by King George III in 1802. Within British Columbia, his route took him through Beaver, Sekani, Carrier and Nuxalk territory. The Journal of his voyage contains the first written record of the Carrier and Nuxalk languages. For more information see the biography and bibliography at the National Library of Canada

Mildred Martin

Elder Mildred Martin of Nak'azdli helped to develop many language and culture teaching materials. Several of her daughters have been language teachers: Gloria Duncan, Florence Sam, and Yvonne Pierreroy.

Joe Michel

An elder from Adams Lake and fluent speaker of Secwepmectsín (Shuswap), he is one of the founders and mainstays of Chief Atahm School, in which the language of instruction is Secwepmectsín. This program is widely regarded as a model for First Nations language immersion.

Kathy Michel

A Secwépmec woman from Adams Lake who did not grow up speaking Secwepmectsín, she decided that she wanted her children to have the opportunity that she did not have. Together with her father, Joe Michel, she became one of the founders and mainstays of Chief Atahm School, in which the language of instruction is Secwepmectsín. Through attending school with her children, she has learned to speak her language.

Justa Monk

Justa Monk has been a leader in the Dakelh community for many years. He was Chief of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council from 1981-1983 and again from 1990-1994. He is presently Executive Director of Tl'azt'en Nation, Co-Chair of the Northwest Tribal Association, and a member of the Task Group of the First Nations Summit. His life is described in the book Justa.

Bridget Moran

(1923-1999) Bridget Moran, née Drugan, was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Island on September 1, 1923. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to Success, Sasketchewan. After attending the Normal School and becoming a schoolteacher, she served in the Navy in World War II. After the war, she received an Honours Degree in English and Philosophy from the University of Toronto. She began work on a Master's Degree in History, but was unable to continue because the Department of Veterans' Affairs would not support her because they found no women teaching in history departments in Canada. She headed west and in the early 1950s began working in British Columbia as a social worker, finally settling in Prince George.

In 1964 she spoke out against injustice in the social welfare system, creating a public outcry. As a result, she was fired by the provincial government. Thereafter she worked for the Prince George Regional Hospital, the University of Victoria Social Work Department, and the Prince George School District.

In 1988, Helen Jones, the daughter of elder Mary John, Sr., asked her to write her mother's biography. Mary John told her the story of her life, resulting in the award-winning book Stoney Creek Woman. Bridget retired from her career as a social worker the following year and wrote several more books. Two of them, Judgement at Stoney Creek and Justa deal with Dakelh people. She also wrote a book A Little Rebellion about her experience as a social worker, and Prince George Remembered, a small book of reminiscences of settlers in Prince George.

Bridget received the Jeanne Clarke Memorial Local History Award in 1989, the British Columbia Historical Federation's Lieutenant-Governor's Medal, and the Governor-General's Medal commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. She was an honorary member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. In 1995 she received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Northern British Columbia. In 1996 she received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria.

Bridget served for several years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Yinka Dene Language Institute, representing the College of New Caledonia, on whose board she also served.

Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice

(1859-1938). A missionary belonging to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Born and raised in France, he came to British Columbia in 1880, and after a stint in Williams Lake at St. Joseph's school, was posted to Fort Saint James in 1885, where he remained until 1904. Father Morice learned Dakelh rapidly and became the only missionary to speak more than rudimentary Dakelh. In 1885 he created the first writing system for Dakelh, the Carrier syllabics, by adapting the Northwest Territories version of the Cree syllabics. From 1891-1894 published a bimonthly newspaper, the Dustl'us Nawhulnuk, in Dakelh. He was responsible for the translation of the catechism and many hymns and prayers into Dakelh.

Father Morice was the first person to make extensive and accurate recordings of any Athabaskan language. After leaving Fort Saint James, he spent most of the remainder of his life as a scholar in Winnipeg, where he wrote extensively, especially on Dakelh language and culture, more general Athabaskan topics, and the history of the Roman Catholic church in Western Canada. For a biography of Father Morice, see Mulhall (1986). Morice (1897) is a sort of autobiography. Some of Father Morice's works are listed here in the bibliography on Dakelh linguistics and the bibliography on Dakelh culture and history. Carrière (1972) is a detailed bibliography of his works.

Father Morice
Father Morice around 1932

Yvonne Pierreroy

The daughter of Mildred Martin and the late Frank Martin, Yvonne co-taught Carrier language at the University of Northern British Columbia in 1996 and 1997 with Bill Poser and in 1998-1999 with Catherine Bird. In daily life she is secretary to the Vice-President (Academic) at UNBC.

Rose Pierre

(1940-2001) The daughter of Lizette Pierre and niece of Ray Prince. Born in Tache (Tl'azt'en Nation) on March 30, 1940, Rose was a member of the Granton clan. Educated at Lejac Residential School, Kamloops Indian School, and Prince George College, She was the first person from Tache to complete grade 12. Working without salary, she single-handedly created the Tl'azt'en Nation band office and became its first staff member. Interested for many years in language and culture, she received a diploma in linguistics from the University of Victoria. She also did extensive research on Dakelh legends and on geneaology. Initially employed as a researcher and curriculum developer, she became Executive Director of the Yinka Dene Language Institute in 1992. She stepped down from this position in 1997. She passed away suddenly, after a short illness, on January 15, 2001. A scholarship fund for Carrier students of language and linguistics has been established in her memory.

William J. Poser

Bill Poser received a B.A. in Linguistics and Classics from Harvard College in 1979. He received the Ph.D. in Linguistics, with a minor field in Electrical Engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985, with a dissertation entitled ``The Phonetics and Phonology of Tone and Intonation in Japanese'' for which much of the research was carried out at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He was a faculty member in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University from 1983 to 1994. From 1994 to 1998 he was a member of the First Nations Studies Department at the University of Northern British Columbia, where he taught courses in Linguistics and co-taught Dakelh language. He has held visiting positions at the University of Arizona, Tianjin Normal University (China) the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain), the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), the University of New Mexico, and the Navajo Language Academy and has taught courses for the University of British Columbia, the Yinka Dene Language Institute, and Simon Fraser University. He has published in a variety of linguistics journals and has presented numerous papers at conferences and colloquia. His principal research interests are: phonetics, phonology, historical linguistics, writing systems, Japanese, and Athabaskan languages.

He has worked extensively on Dakelh and has been associated in various capacities with the Yinka Dene Language Institute since 1992. For two years he served as Acting Executive Director of the Yinka Dene Language Institute. He is presently a Visiting Professor and Research Associate at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a Research Consultant to YDLI and Language Coordinator for Lheidli T'enneh. He holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Linguistics at the University of British Columbia.

Louis-Billy Prince

(1864-1962). Son of Simeyon Prince, son of Kw'eh. Nak'azdli dayiyaz "church chief". After Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice left Fort Saint James in 1904, Mr. Prince corresponded with him for many years, answering innumerable questions about the Dakelh language as Father Morice wrote his book The Carrier Language. Some additional information about his life and times may be found in the book The Carrier, My People by his daughter, Lizette Hall.

Nellie Prince

Widow of the late Raymond Prince, Nellie Prince has been active in Carrier language work since the 1960s. She is one of the authors of the Central Carrier Bilingual Dictionary, the first modern Dakelh dictionary as well as of various stories and other language teaching materials.

Nellie Prince
Nellie Prince in 1974

Nick Prince

Elder Nick Prince, former chief of the Nak'azdli band, is well known as an expert on Dakelh history. He has traveled widely and interviewed elders, adding their information to the the history that he learned from his own elders. Elicho, the woman who made the long winter journey described in the book To the Nahani and Back by Trail, was his mother. He is also one of the few people who still actively use the Déné syllabics, of which he is a strong proponent. He believes that it is only through the use of the syllabics that the language will continue. He represented the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council on the Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics Encoding Committee, which created the Canadian encoding standard that ultimately became part of the international UNICODE standard. From time to time he teaches classes on syllabics.

Raymond Prince

(1923-1996). Ray Prince was born at K'uzche (Grand Rapids) in August 1923. He was a member of the Lusilyoo clan. At the age of seven, he was sent to Lejac Residential School. He hated the school, which forbade the use of native languages or any contact between boys and girls, even brothers and sisters. He hated the poor food and constant abuse, and felt that the school was not giving him a good education. After three years, he ran away, reaching Fort Saint James on foot and then joining his parents on the trapline. He never went back to Lejac but instead worked in the bush.

In 1940, when he was 17, Ray joined the Seaforth Highlanders. He participated in the landing in Sicily and fought his way through Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. When he returned, he found that he had lost his Indian status; he was no longer a member of the Nak'azdli band and could not live on reserve. He did not regain his Indian status until 1987. At the same time, because he was an Indian, he did not receive the same benefits that white veterans received. He later played a major role in persuading Canada to provide veterans benefits to Indians.

Ray was very concerned about the survival of the Dakelh language. Raised a Catholic, he was also a convert to evangelical Christianity. He helped the evangelical missionaries Richard and Shirley Walker to learn the Dakelh language and to translate the New Testament. For quite a few years until the end of his life he was the President of the Carrier Linguistic Committee. His widow Nellie has also been very active in language work.

For more information about Ray's life, see the book God's Warrior: The Life Story of Ray Prince

Peter Quaw

Peter Quaw was born June 25, 1951. As a young boy he went out on the trapline with his family, but once he was of school age he was sent to Lejac Residential School. During his first year in school his mother died; he was not allowed to go home for her funeral. After his mother died, Chief Quaw's father left the reserve, so once he left school, he and his brother lived on the streets in Prince George and Vancouver.

After working in a sawmill for a year, Chief Quaw decided that he needed more education and attended Laurentian University. He returned to Lheidli and was elected government chief in 1986. A major part of his programme was the return to the traditional system of government. On July 1, 1992 he was named keyoh whuduchun "Traditional Chief" by the Council of Elders. In 1997 he was succeeded as government chief by Barry Seymour.

For additional information see Return to Balhats.

Keren Rice

Dr. Rice is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. A student of Slave since the early 1970s, she is the author of A Grammar of Slave and of many other works on Athabaskan languages and linguistic theory.

Bruce Rigsby

Dr. Rigsby received an A.B. in International Studies from the University of Louisville and the Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon. He is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Queensland in Australia. He has done extensive research on Gitksan and is the author of a draft Gitksan Grammar and co-author of A short practical dictionary of the Gitksan language, He also helped to edit Harlan Smith's Ethnobotany of the Gitksan Indians of British Columbia. He served as an expert witness for the Gitksan and Wetsuwet'en Chiefs in the Delgaamukw case. In addition to his work in British Columbia, he has studied aboriginal languages and cultures in Australia.

Barry Seymour

Barry Seymour, son of Vera Seymour, was elected chief of the Lheidli T'enneh in 1997 and was re-elected in 1999 and 2001. He was adopted for potlatch purposes by the late Celina John in Saik'uz and holds the noble name Tusyen.

Jimmy Stillas

(1936-1990). Jimmy Stillas was highly regarded as Chief of the Ulkatcho band. In 1990, while out hunting, his snow machine went through the ice and he died. His hunting partner, elder Wilfred Cassam, took two days to walk out for help. The RCMP's delay in initiating a search after Chief Stillas was reported missing was one of the incidents that triggered the Cariboo Justice Inquiry.

Marie-Lucie Tarpent

A native of France, Dr. Tarpent received the equivalent of a B.A. in English from the Université de Paris, an M.A. in Linguistics from Cornell University, and the Ph. D. in Linguistics from the University of Victoria with a dissertation entitled A Grammar of the Nisgha Language. She is also the compiler of Haniimagoonisgum Algaxhl Nisga'a [Nisgha Phrase Dictionary]. She worked full-time for eight years for School District 92 (Nisgha) developing pedagogical materials and has continued to study Nisga'a since taking up a university position. In addition to her work on Nisga'a, she has worked on other Tsimshianic languages and on the Penutian language family. She helped to edit Harlan Smith's Ethnobotany of the Gitksan Indians of British Columbia. She is currently on the faculty of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

Stanley Thomas

The son of elder Sophie Thomas, Stanley Thomas is Chief of the Saik'uz First Nation.

Stanley Thomas
Breaking the ice at the edge of the Nechakoh River

Nancy J. Turner

Nancy Turner is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria as well as a research associate at the Royal British Columbia Museum. She is the author of numerous publications on the ethnobotany of First Nations in British Columbia, including three major surveys: Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples, Food Plants of Interior First Peoples, and Plant Technology of First Peoples in British Columbia. She is one of the authors of Ulkatcho Food and Medicine Plants and Thompson Ethnobotany .

Robert Young

Bob Young is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. He has devoted his life to the Navajo Language. He is the co-author, with William Morgan, Sr., of the magnificent The Navajo Language: a Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary and, with William Morgan, Sr. and Sally Midgette, of the Analytical Lexicon of Navajo. As a young man he accompanied the famous John Peabody Harrington on a tour of Canada and assisted in collecting data on several native languages. He and Harrington spent three weeks in Fort Saint James in December of 1939, during which Young compiled a fairly extensive set of field notes on Dakelh.

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