Topic: Indigenous peoples of North America
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The Cherokee syllabary is a syllabary invented by Sequoyah in the late 1810s and early 1820s to write the Cherokee language. His creation of the syllabary is particularly noteworthy as he could not previously read any script. He first experimented with logograms, but his system later developed into a syllabary. In his system, each symbol represents a syllable rather than a single phoneme; the 85 (originally 86) characters provide a suitable method to write Cherokee. Although some symbols resemble Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic letters, they are not used to represent the same sounds.
- "Cherokee Syllabary" | 2019-06-30 | 56 Upvotes 12 Comments
Sequoyah – Inventor of the Cherokee Script
Sequoyah (ᏍᏏᏉᏯ Ssiquoya, as he signed his name, or ᏎᏉᏯ Se-quo-ya, as is often spelled in Cherokee; named in English George Gist or George Guess) (c.1770–1843), was a Native American polymath of the Cherokee Nation. In 1821 he completed his independent creation of a Cherokee syllabary, making reading and writing in Cherokee possible. This was one of the very few times in recorded history that a member of a pre-literate people created an original, effective writing system (another example being Shong Lue Yang). After seeing its worth, the people of the Cherokee Nation rapidly began to use his syllabary and officially adopted it in 1825. Their literacy rate quickly surpassed that of surrounding European-American settlers.
- "Sequoyah – Inventor of the Cherokee Script" | 2019-12-08 | 68 Upvotes 16 Comments
Thomas Harriot (Oxford, c. 1560 – London, 2 July 1621), also spelled Harriott, Hariot or Heriot, was an English astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer and translator who made advances within the scientific field. Thomas Harriot was recognized for his contributions in astronomy, mathematics, and navigational techniques. Harriot worked closely with John White to create advanced maps for navigation. While Harriot worked extensively on numerous papers on the subjects of astronomy, mathematics, and navigation the amount of work that was actually published was sparse. So sparse that the only publication that has been produced by Harriot was The Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. The premise of the book includes descriptions of English settlements and financial issues in Virginia at the time. He is sometimes credited with the introduction of the potato to the British Isles. Harriot was the first person to make a drawing of the Moon through a telescope, on 26 July 1609, over four months before Galileo Galilei.
After graduating from St Mary Hall, Oxford, Harriot travelled to the Americas, accompanying the 1585 expedition to Roanoke island funded by Sir Walter Raleigh and led by Sir Ralph Lane. Harriot was a vital member of the venture, having learned and translating the Carolina Algonquian language from two Native Americans: Wanchese and Manteo. On his return to England, he worked for the 9th Earl of Northumberland. At the Earl's house, he became a prolific mathematician and astronomer to whom the theory of refraction is attributed.
- "Thomas Harriot" | 2014-05-25 | 12 Upvotes 2 Comments
Dené–Yeniseian is a proposed language family consisting of the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia and the Na-Dené languages of northwestern North America.
Reception among experts has been largely, though not universally, favorable; thus, Dené–Yeniseian has been called "the first demonstration of a genealogical link between Old World and New World language families that meets the standards of traditional comparative-historical linguistics," besides the Eskimo–Aleut languages spoken in far eastern Siberia and North America.
Kaktovik Iñupiaq Numerals
Kaktovik Iñupiaq numerals are a featural positional numeral system created by Alaskan Iñupiat.
Arabic numeral notation, which was designed for a base-10 numeral system, is inadequate for the Inuit languages, which use a base-20 numeral system. Students from Kaktovik, Alaska invented a base-20 numeral notation in 1994 to rectify this issue, and this system spread among the Alaskan Iñupiat and has been considered in other countries where Inuit languages are spoken.
The image at right shows the digits 0 to 19. Twenty is written as a one and a zero (I0), forty as a two and a zero (V0), four hundred as a one and two zeros (I00), eight hundred as a two and two zeros (V00), etc.
- "Kaktovik Iñupiaq Numerals" | 2020-12-07 | 26 Upvotes 11 Comments
Kaktovik numerals – A base-20 number system that is visually easy too
Kaktovik numerals are a featural positional numeral system created by Alaskan Iñupiat.
Arabic numeral notation, which was designed for a base-10 numeral system, is inadequate for the Inuit languages, which use a base-20 numeral system. Students in Kaktovik, Alaska, invented a base-20 numeral notation in 1994 to rectify this issue, and this system spread among the Alaskan Iñupiat and has been considered in other countries where Inuit languages are spoken.
The image at right shows the digits 0 to 19. Twenty is written as a one and a zero (\ɤ), forty as a two and a zero (Vɤ), four hundred as a one and two zeros (\ɤɤ), eight hundred as a two and two zeros (Vɤɤ), etc.
- "Kaktovik Numerals" | 2023-01-25 | 180 Upvotes 70 Comments
- "Kaktovik numerals – A base-20 number system that is visually easy too" | 2021-03-04 | 39 Upvotes 2 Comments
Saskatoon Freezing Deaths
The Saskatoon freezing deaths were a series of deaths of Indigenous Canadians in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in the early 2000s, which were confirmed to have been caused by members of the Saskatoon Police Service. The police officers would arrest Indigenous people, usually men, for alleged drunkenness and/or disorderly behaviour, sometimes without cause. The officers would then drive them to the outskirts of the city at night in the winter, and abandon them, leaving them stranded in sub-zero temperatures.
The practice was known as taking Indigenous people for "starlight tours" and dates back to 1976. As of 2021, despite convictions for related offences, no Saskatoon police officer has been convicted specifically for having caused freezing deaths.
- "Saskatoon Freezing Deaths" | 2022-08-09 | 208 Upvotes 102 Comments
Canadian Indian residential school system
In Canada, the Indian residential school system was a network of boarding schools for Indigenous peoples which amounted to cultural genocide. The network was funded by the Canadian government's Department of Indian Affairs and administered by Christian churches. The school system was created to isolate Indigenous children from the influence of their own native culture and religion in order to assimilate them into the dominant Canadian culture.: 42 Over the course of the system's more than hundred-year existence, around 150,000 children were placed in residential schools nationally.: 2–3 By the 1930s about 30 percent of Indigenous children were believed to be attending residential schools. The number of school-related deaths remains unknown due to incomplete records. Estimates range from 3,200 to over 30,000.
The system had its origins in laws enacted before Confederation, but it was primarily active from the passage of the Indian Act in 1876, under Prime Minister Alexander MacKenzie. Under Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, the government adopted the residential industrial school system of the United States, a partnership between the government and various church organizations. An amendment to the Indian Act in 1894, under Prime Minister Mackenzie Bowell, made attendance at day schools, industrial schools, or residential schools compulsory for First Nations children. Due to the remote nature of many communities, school locations meant that for some families, residential schools were the only way to comply. The schools were intentionally located at substantial distances from Indigenous communities to minimize contact between families and their children. Indian Commissioner Hayter Reed argued for schools at greater distances to reduce family visits, which he thought counteracted efforts to assimilate Indigenous children. Parental visits were further restricted by the use of a pass system designed to confine Indigenous peoples to reserves. The last federally-funded residential school, Kivalliq Hall in Rankin Inlet, closed in 1997. Schools operated in every province and territory with the exception of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
The residential school system harmed Indigenous children significantly by removing them from their families, depriving them of their ancestral languages, and exposing many of them to physical and sexual abuse. Conditions in the schools led to student malnutrition, starvation, and disease. Students were also subjected to forced enfranchisement as "assimilated" citizens that removed their legal identity as Indians. Disconnected from their families and culture and forced to speak English or French, students who attended the residential school system often graduated being unable to fit into their communities but remaining subject to racist attitudes in mainstream Canadian society. The system ultimately proved successful in disrupting the transmission of Indigenous practices and beliefs across generations. The legacy of the system has been linked to an increased prevalence of post-traumatic stress, alcoholism, substance abuse, suicide, and intergenerational trauma which persist within Indigenous communities today.
Starting in the late 2000s, the Canadian government and religious communities have begun to recognize, and issue apologies for, their respective roles in the residential school system. Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a public apology on his behalf and that of the other federal political party leaders. Nine days prior, on June 1, 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to uncover the truth about the schools. The commission gathered about 7,000 statements from residential school survivors through public and private meetings at various local, regional and national events across Canada. Seven national events held between 2008 and 2013 commemorated the experience of former students of residential schools. In 2015, the TRC concluded with the establishment of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the publication of a multi-volume report detailing the testimonies of survivors and historical documents from the time. The TRC report concluded that the school system amounted to cultural genocide. Ongoing efforts since 2021 have identified thousands of probable unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools, though no human remains have yet to be exhumed. During a penitential pilgrimage to Canada in July 2022, Pope Francis reiterated the apologies of the Catholic Church for its role in administering many of the residential schools, also acknowledging the system as genocide. In October 2022, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion calling on the federal Canadian government to recognize residential schools as genocide.
- "Canadian Indian residential school system" | 2022-11-22 | 18 Upvotes 1 Comments