Language Keepers began in 2006 as an experimental project to document endangered languages, addressing a central dilemma in endangered language work: the decline and loss of public group discourse. When a language is no longer spoken in groups outside the family or in public, it cannot be passed on or documented effectively.
In their 14 years of documentation with the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet people of Eastern Maine and New Brunswick, Language Keepers filmed more than 100 hours of natural group conversation with 85 speakers. Since 2015, documentation has been posted to the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Portal. Visit the dictionary, here.
An excerpt from the video (transcript):
It used to be so much fun when my grandmother went sweetgrass picking with my mother. And they would bring the sweetgrass to our house, they would clean the sweetgrass, and take a little and tie it up, wrap it up and hang it on a rope. The sweetgrass would be hanging everywhere in the house. As we went to bed, you’d just look up to see the sweetgrass. It smelled so nice.