First translation of Small Number

January 31, 2011

( -- Put together a Simon Fraser University mathematician who sees videos in numbers and an SFU Aboriginal researcher, fluent in a rarely spoken language, and voila! You have an animated cartoon that is the first math resource of its kind translated into the Blackfoot language.

Eldon Yellowhorn, an SFU palaeo-Indian archaeologist who is fluent in Blackfoot, and his sister Connie Crop Eared Wolf, have helped math senior lecturer Veselin Jungic produce a Blackfoot of Small Number Counts to 100.

Last fall, in collaboration with the Aboriginal community, SFU’s Teaching and Learning Centre and a UBC , Jungic wrote and produced the short about a young Aboriginal boy learning to count to 100.

An award-winning teacher with a mission, the Burnaby resident envisions creating many culturally intriguing videos in various Aboriginal languages to inspire Aboriginal youth’s interest in math.

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English version

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Blackfoot version
Jungic chose Blackfoot as the first Aboriginal language translation because Rena Sinclair, a member of the Siksika Nation, inspired the original movie’s English narration. The Siksika Nation is part of the Blackfoot Confederacy, a collective name for three groups of Aboriginal Peoples in Alberta and one in Montana.

Jungic’s biggest challenge proved to be finding someone who can speak Blackfoot and was willing to do the translation. “It was incredibly difficult,” says Jungic. “It was just my pure luck that I discovered Eldon Yellowhorn is fluent in the language.”

Bob Russell, an SFU math professor who is as deeply involved in mentoring Aboriginal Peoples as Jungic, tipped him off and the rest is Blackfoot history.

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