Antti Arppe (University of Alberta) – Project Director

Antti is Associate Professor of Quantitative Linguistics at the University of Alberta and founder of ALTLab. His research applies and develops statistical and computational methods, as well as corpora and language technology, in modelling linguistic phenomena, with an aim for cognitive plausibility, and contrasting evidence representing different modalities of language. Prior to his academic career, he worked in senior managerial positions for Lingsoft, a Finnish language technology company, responsible for proofing tools such as those that will be developed by ALTLab. In ALTLab, Antti is responsible for the overall planning and management of the project, and supervising both research and development of the computational linguistic models and subsequent applications for Plains Cree and other indigenous languages.

Andrew Cowell (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Andrew Cowell is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has collaborated extensively with Arapaho communities in teacher training, curriculum development, and language documentation. He contributes his experience with Algonquian language analysis, documentation, and education to this project.

Andrea Custer (First Nations University of Canada)

Andrea Custer holds a Master of Education in Indigenous Land-Based Education and is a Lecturer of Cree Language and Education courses as well as the Program Coordinator for Indigenous Languages at FNUniv. Her research interests include Cree Language and literacy, Indigenous language revitalization, and the use of technology in language learning. She also has expertise in the theories and practices of second language acquisition. She is a signatory on a Memorandum of Understanding (in June 2020) between Lac La Ronge Indian Band, First Nations University and University of Alberta for the collaborative development of linguistic materials for nîhithawîwin (Woodland Cree). In our Partnership, as a fluent speaker and lecturer in nîhithawîwin, she is contributing alongside Assoc. Prof. Solomon Ratt to the development of digital language tools in this language.

Anna Kazantseva (National Research Council of Canada (NRC))

Anna Kazantseva is a computational linguist with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and head researcher on the NRCʼs federally funded Indigenous Languages Software project (2017–2020). She has experience in computational modelling involving Indigenous languages, and will help adapt the Giella infrastructure to this partnership’s technical needs.

Arden Ogg (Cree Literacy Network)

Arden Ogg is the founding Director of the Cree Literacy Network, which creates and shares resources for education about Cree language and culture. She contributes to this project her experience with Cree language advocacy, education, and dissemination.

Arok Wolvengrey (First Nations University of Canada)

Arok Wolvengrey is currently a Professor of Linguistics and Head of the Department of Indigenous Languages, Arts and Cultures at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv). He specializes in the Cree language – particularly morpho-syntax, discourse, and lexicography – as well as Algonquian Linguistics in general, and teaches a diverse number of courses for the Language Studies and Linguistics degree programs. Much of his work has focused on increasing literacy in Cree and in editing materials for proper use of the Cree Standard Roman Orthography (SRO). Foremost among his projects has been the compilation of the two-volume, 16,000+ entry Cree-English dictionary, nēhiyawēwin: itwēwina / Cree Words in both the Standard Roman Orthography and Cree Syllabics. He is also series editor for the First Nations Language Reader series published through the University of Regina Press. Together with his wife, Dr. Jean Okimāsis, they form the Cree language consulting partnership miywāsin ink, and both are members of the Cree Literacy Network. Prof. Wolvengrey brings to our project his extensive experience and expertise on the study of Cree, as well as makes available for our work his comprehensive Cree dictionary.

Bruce Starlight (Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute, Office of the Tsuut’ina Language Commissioner)

Bruce Starlight is elder and the founding director of the Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute.  He is also the current Tsuut’ina Language Commissioner.

Conor Snoek (University of Lethbridge)

Conor is a former team member and current collaborator with ALT Lab.  Conor joined the ALT Lab while still a doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta, Department of Linguistics.  He is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Lethbridge. He has been involved with linguistic training and revitalization programs with Indigenous communities in Alberta since 2009, and further contributes his expertise with both Dene and Algonquian (esp. Plains Cree and Blackfoot) languages to our 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages Partnership.

Christopher Cox (Carleton University)

Christopher Cox is an Assistant Professor in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies at Carleton University. His research centers on issues in language documentation, description, and revitalization, with a special focus on the creation and application of permanent, accessible collections of language resources (corpora). For the past twenty years, he has been involved with community-based language documentation, education, and revitalization efforts, most extensively in partnership with speakers of Plautdietsch, the traditional language of the Dutch-Russian Mennonites, and with Dene communities in Alberta and Yukon.

Christopher M. Hammerly (University of British Columbia)

Christopher Hammerly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of British Columbia. His work focuses on understanding and documenting Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), with an interest in the nature of the basic units of morphosyntax (person, number, and noun classification), how these units participate in long-distance dependencies such as movement and agreement, and how the work of linguists can be applied to create curricula and technologies for language revitalization.

Dorothy Thunder (University of Alberta)

Dorothy Thunder is both a native speaker and full-time instructor of Cree in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. In 2011, she co-authored the award-winning Beginning of Print Culture in Athabasca Country (University of Alberta Press) and received a Graduate Studies Teaching Award. She has been a member of the Cree Literacy Network from its inception. In this project, she offers the irreplaceable insights of a native speaker, fully fluent literacy in Plains Cree, and years of professional experience teaching this language, which are all essential in the development of our tools.

Gary Donovan (University of Calgary)

Gary Donovan has worked for nearly 30 years with the Tsuut’ina Nation on language documentation and education. In collaboration with Starlight, he has produced several extensive dictionaries (1994, 2002, 2004–), and will continue his work with Starlight and Cox to develop and integrate these resources into the technologies created in this partnership.

Inge Genee (University of Lethbridge)

Inge Genee is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of Lethbridge.  She works with the Blackfoot language community. Her current research interest is mainly in Blackfoot language documentation and revitalization. See her Blackfoot Language Resources project page at Her other research interests are in Sociolinguistics, Documentary Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, Functional Discourse Grammar and other non-generative approaches to grammar.

Janelle Crane-Starlight (Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute)

Janelle Crane-Starlight is the Tsuut’ina Language/Culture Executive Director for the Tsuut’ina Nation, and previous Director of the Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute. Established in 2008, the Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute is dedicated to the full revitalization of the Tsuut’ina Gunaha in all forms through various traditional and contemporary means. Janelle helps to ensure the continued collaboration with Tsuut’ina speakers in the development of our tools.

Jean Okimāsis (First Nations University of Canada)

Jean Okimāsis a first-language speaker of Plains Cree and has worked professionally on Cree language education, curriculum development, and publishing for over 35 years, including 20 years as a professor at First Nations University of Canada. She contributes this experience and her insights into Cree language structure and pedagogy to this work.

Lene Antonsen (University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway)

Lene Antonsen is a teacher of Saami language and has worked at the Giellatekno Centre at the Arctic University of Norway since 2007, where her research has been central in developing intelligent computer-assisted language learning (ICALL) tools for Indigenous languages. Antonsen will help develop similar ICALL tools for Indigenous languages in this project.

Mans Hulden (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Mans Hulden is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research focuses on developing computational methods to infer and model linguistic structure using varying degrees of prior linguistic knowledge, particularly in the domains of phonology and morphology. Dr. Hulden has worked extensively with linguistic applications of finite state technology, modeling of linguistic theory, grammatical inference, and the development of language resources, and is the author of several open-source tools for finite-state language modeling. He teaches courses in computational linguistics, phonology, and phonetics.

Marianne Ignace (Simon Fraser University)

Marianne Ignace is Professor of Linguistics and First Nations Language Studies and Director of the First Nations Language Centre at Simon Fraser University. She contributes her experience with Haida and Salish languages and with serving as Project Director of First Nations Languages in the 21st Century: Looking Back, Looking Forward (SSHRC PG, 2013–2020).

Marie-Odile Junker (Carleton University)

As a linguist and lover of linguistic diversity, Dr. Marie-Odile Junker is active in Indigenous language documentation, maintenance, and revitalisation. She uses a participatory-action research framework to work with communities and individuals interested in saving their language and seeing it thrive in the 21st century. Exploring how information and communication technologies can help Indigenous languages, she has developed several websites and online dictionaries for languages of the Algonquian family (Cree, Innu, Atikamekw). She is leading the co-creation of the Algonquian Linguistic Atlas, a large collaborative project that is building a digital infrastructure for Algonquian dictionaries and other resources. Marie-Odile was awarded a Governor’s General Innovation Award in 2017.

Martha Palmer (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Martha Palmer is an Arts and Sciences Professor of Distinction for Linguistics, and the Helen & Hubert Croft Professor of Engineering in the Computer Science Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She offers her extensive experience in computational linguistics and artificial intelligence to this project.

Mary Ann Naokwegijig-Corbiere (University of Sudbury)

Mary Ann Naokwegijig-Corbiere is a prominent Nishnaabemwin educator and was Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury, now retired. She is the co-editor of the The Nishnaabemwin Web Dictionary (2016), and brings to this project her fluency in both English and Odawa and experience with Algonquian lexicography and linguistic research.

Melvatha Chee (University of New Mexico)

Melvatha Chee is a native speaker of Navajo, and has taught Navajo language and linguistics and conducted research on Navajo language acquisition. Chee contributes her expertise in language acquisition, documentation, education, and Dene linguistics to this project.

Miikka Silfverberg (University of British Columbia)

Miikka Silfverberg is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of British Columbia. His work centers around computational linguistics and natural language processing. He has helped to develop natural language processing tools for morphologically complex languages. Miikka is currently developing language resources for Gitksan and Lilooet. He offers his experience in computational linguistics and developing computational tools for underserved languages.

Natalie Weber (Yale University)

Natalie Weber is an Assistant Professor in Linguistics at Yale University. Since 2011, their empirical focus has been Blackfoot (Algonquian). They have extensive knowledge of Blackfoot phonetics, phonology, and orthography. In addition, they are actively developing Blackfoot Words (, a free, open-access, annotated, digital database of Blackfoot inflected words, analyzed into their meaningful parts (morphology). This database and other resources facilitate the development of a computational model of Blackfoot word-structure (morphology) and consequent sound substitutions (phonology).

Olga Lovick (University of Saskatchewan)

Olga Lovick is Professor at the University of Saskatchewan.  She has worked with the Upper Tanana language community to conducting research on Upper Tanana Dene since 2006, with numerous publications on the language including a Grammar of Upper Tanana (2020), a collection of stories in the Tetlin dialect (2011, 2017) and a collection of stories in the Northway dialect (to appear), plus miscellaneous research articles. She contributes to the intellectual leadership and practical implementation concerning the Partnerships work on the Dene language family in general, and Upper Tanana Dene in particular and to engage with the respective Indigenous communities.

Roland Kuhn (National Research Council of Canada (NRC))

Roland Kuhn is Project Leader for the Indigenous Languages Software project at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). He contributes his expertise in speech recognition and machine translation to work with spoken Indigenous language resources.

Sjur Moshagen (University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway)

Sjur Moshagen is the chief architect of the Giella language technology infrastructure and head of the Divvun group of Saami language technology. Moshagen will continue to develop and extend this infrastructure to meet the specific needs of Indigenous communities and languages represented in this project.

Solomon Ratt (First Nations University of Canada)

Solomon Ratt is Associate Professor of Indigenous Languages,Linguistics, and Literature at First Nations University of Canada and a fluent speaker of Woods Cree. He has taught all levels of Cree language courses since 1986 and published collections of stories (2014) and pedagogical resources (2016). He contributes his expertise as a Cree educator, speaker, and scholar.

Trond Trosterud (University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway)

Trond Trosterud is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Tromsø. He has published on the morphology and syntax of various Uralic and North Germanic languages, and on  sociolinguistic topics related to Russia and the Nordic countries. For the last 13 years h  e has led the Giellatekno Saami Language Technology Center at the University of Tromsø, developing linguistic models and tools for North Saami and other circumpolar languages. In this project, his contribution will be supporting the development and research of language technological models and tools for Plains Cree and other languages.

Past Collaborators

Eileen Marthiensen (Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission (MESC))

Eileen Marthiensen is the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction with the Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission. Previously she served as the Executive Director of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Directorate with Alberta Education. As MESC liaison to this Partnership, she helps ensure close collaboration with affiliated Cree communities.

Paula Mackinaw (Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission (MESC))

Paula Mackinaw joined the Partnership as the Coordinator of Cree Language Curriculum and Nêhiyawâtisiwin (Cree Way of Life) with the Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission (MESC) and a trained community linguist. As MESC liaison to this Partnership, she helped ensure close collaboration with affiliated Cree communities.

J. Rand Valentine (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Rand Valentine is a Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has studied Ojibwe for three decades, and is author of a comprehensive grammar (2001) and co-editor of an online dictionary (2016). He shares this experience and extensive linguistic materials for the computational modelling of Ojibwe.