Hello everyone. My name is Adam Haviland. I am a PhD student in the Anthropology program here at Michigan State. I am the lonely linguistic Anthropology student you see hiding out at Espresso Royal. I also am a Graduate Assistant for the Native American Institute. Before coming into Anthropology I received an M.A in American Studies from MSU. The focus of my graduate work has been on the revitalization of Native American Languages, specifically Anishinaabemowin, which includes Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomie in the Great Lakes. I started learning Anishinaabemowin in high school and have continued to study it as both an undergrad and graduate student. I am currently working with the Native American Institute to create an online course in the language.
I did my undergraduate work at Central Michigan where I received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in American Indian Studies. The focus of my studies at this time was on plant biology, Ecology and Great Lakes Ecosystems. After completing by undergraduate degree I worked in K-12 education in Lansing, Mt. Pleasant, and St Johns. I worked with risk and special education students. I also did 3 years in lock up….working with adjudicated teens at a treatment facility. I am still involved in teaching children as a Naturalist at Fenner Nature Center, where I have worked teaching classes on ecology, plant identification, biology and Native American history and culture for the past 20 years. As if my life isn’t busy enough I also thought Grad school was a good time to start having children. I am the proud father of two boys, Benjamin age 2 and Ronan who was just born last week.
My interest in Cultural Heritage Informatics comes out of my teaching Language and Culture as an online course for the Anthropology program at Michigan State. Currently there are less that 50 fluent speakers of Anishinaabemowin in Michigan. Because of this many people do not have access or opportunities to learn the language or to engage with other speakers. Digital learning offers a unique way to reach people interested in learning the language and offers a way to create virtual environments where people can interact using it. Cultural Heritage Informatics also has the potential to preserve many unique features of the language, which is verb based and morphologically complex. Many of these features as well as the cultural knowledge and worldview that is part of the language are lost when translated into English. Many of the language educators and fluent speakers I work with believe that preserving these aspects and passing them on to the next generation is an essential part of language revitalization.