Dr. Bernard C. Perley’s Work on Native Language & Landscape
Bernard Christopher Perley is a member of the Maliseet Nation at Tobique, New Brunswick. He was trained in Fine Arts and Architecture at the University of Texas Austin, and completed a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at Harvard University.
His first monograph is a scholarly ethnography with the University of Nebraska Press entitled Defying Maliseet Language Death: Emergent Vitalities of Language, Culture, and Identity in Eastern Canada (2011). It describes the efforts of members of the Tobique community engaged in language revitalization as processes of cultural survival as well as resistance to the dominant cultural assimilative practices in Canada. Most important, it seeks to change the discourses on language endangerment away from metaphors of “death” and “extinction” to “emergent vitalities” of language, culture, and identity.
In addition, he has an alternative ethnography under development called Wəlasweltəmoltine: Wəlastəkwi Cosmogenesis, that emphasizes the poetics of the Maliseet language and the integration of Maliseet cosmogony, Maliseet landscape, and Maliseet oral traditions as codependent intertextualities. This website introduces these themes.