Meet, Native language linguistics legend and Jessie “Little Doe” Baird, if you haven’t heard of her already. She wrote grammar on Wampanoag (a centuries extinct dialect of the Algonquian, Massachusett-Wampanoag language) from a translation of the Bible and some other early missionary works – Jessie Little Doe Fermino. 2000. “An Introduction to Wampanoag Grammar,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MS thesis – under MIT’s Indigenous Language Initiative program with the help of Noam Chomsky and Ken Hale. She passed this graduate program with flying colors despire having no previous college degree.
Since then, she was awarded $500,000 as a MacArthur Fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to help resurrect Wopanaak; including the creation of a 10,000-word dictionary. Lately, she’s being featured in a documentary on Wampanoag’s reconstruction by Emmy Award winner Anne Makepeace, called We Still Live Here. She is currently Program Director of the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP) where she creates teaching materials and teaches adult and child level classes, as well as summer immersion camps.