Indigenous languages professor receives Dean of Arts Award

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Professor Patricia A. Shaw, Anthropology, UBC

April 27, 2015 – UBC Anthropology professor Patricia Shaw, the founder of what is now the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program (FNEL), is the Dean of Arts Award recipient for 2014-15. Dr. Shaw has been with the university for over 35 years.

A celebrated phonologist, Dr. Shaw founded the award-winning First Nations Languages Program (FNLG) in partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band in 1997. She has been a pioneer in opening community access to UBC, and has also taken UBC to communities throughout the province, having taught UBC-accredited FNLG courses in Alert Bay, on the Kwantlen First Nations reserve and at the Urban Native Youth Association, and at Britannia Centre in East Vancouver. Dr. Shaw’s commitment to engaging with academic and Aboriginal audiences is deep, lasting, and operates at local, regional, national and international levels.

Dr. Shaw shared her thoughts on winning the Dean of Arts Award:

I’m deeply honoured by this award, and tremendously grateful to Dean Averill for his fundamental support of the UBC First Nations Languages program and of our commitment to collaborative engagement with First Nations communities. I raise my hands in profound appreciation to the Musqueam people – and to the many Elders and passionate language activists from other Indigenous communities that I have been privileged to collaborate with – for the teachings, commitment, trust, and friendship that they have so generously shared with me in our work towards the vitality and sustainability of the critically endangered First Nations languages in our midst.

Finally, I commend many levels of leadership at UBC for having created a vibrant, challenging, and nurturing intellectual context that embraces the reality of Place – that we are situated on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking Musqueam people – and the Promise of educating our campus community and the general public towards a society of Truth and Reconciliation.

The Dean of Arts Award is given in honour of a Professor Emeritus or Emerita who has made a significant contribution to the Faculty. This year, the Award honours Associate Professor Emeritus Mike Kew, formerly of the Department of Anthropology.

The Faculty of Arts warmly congratulates Dr. Shaw on her achievements.

As well, the First Nations House of Learning congratulates Dr. Shaw on receiving this distinguished award.


This article has been reprinted with permission from the Faculty of Arts. It has been slightly edited. The original article can be found here.

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