Research Team

Dr. Kari A. B. Chew, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kari A. B. Chew is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She is a postdoctoral fellow with the NEȾOLṈEW̱ Partnership. Her scholarship focuses on the motivations and experiences of adult additional language learners who are reclaiming their Indigenous heritage languages. Her current research considers the role of technology in connecting learners who live outside their communities to their languages. She earned her doctorate in Language, Reading, and Culture from the University of Arizona in 2016.



Chew, K.A.B. , Anthony-Stevens, V., LeClair-Diaz, A., Nicholas, S.E., Sobotta, A. & Stevens, P. (2019). Enacting Indigenous Language and Cultural Reclamation across Geographies and Positionalities. Transmotion, 5(1), 132-151.
Chew, K.A.B. (2019). Weaving Words: Conceptualizing Language Reclamation through a Culturally-Significant Metaphor. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 41(1).
McCarty, T.L., Nicholas, S.E., Chew, K.A.B., Diaz, N.G., Leonard, W.Y. & White, L. (2018). Hear Our Languages, Hear Our Voices: Storywork as Theory and Praxis in Indigenous-Language Reclamation. Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 147(2), 160 -17 2.
Chew, K.A.B. & Anthony-Stevens, V. (2017). Teaching from a Place of Hope in Indigenous Education. Anthropology News, 58(2). e265-e269.
Chew, K.A.B. (2015). Family at the Heart of Chickasaw Language Reclamation. The American Indian Quarterly, 39(2), 154-179.
Chew, K.A.B., Hicks, N. & Keliia, C. (2015). Claiming Space: An Autoethnographic Study of Indigenous Graduate Students Engaged in Language Reclamation. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 17(2), 73 -91.
Chew, K., Keliiaa, K. & Hicks, N. (2015, March). Studying Indigenous Heritage Languages at Universities: A Collaborative Autoethnography. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC).


Barbara Jenni, Project Manager

Barbara is of Swiss, German, and French heritage. She has lived in Switzerland, Guatemala, and Canada, and is a grateful settler on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. She is the Project Manager of the NEȾOLṈEW̱ Partnership, after having served as the coordinator of the preceding SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, also with co-leads Onowa McIvor and Peter Jacobs. Barbara also supported the coordination of Trish Rosborough’s SSHRC Insight Grant ‘Beautiful Words’ and Jean-Paul Restoule’s SSHRC Partnership Development and Insight Grants.

She holds an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Victoria, where she explored the relation between language revitalization and wellbeing and change in cognition, self-narrative, and wellbeing. Her PhD research (Educational Studies, UVIC) focuses on how the generation of academic knowledge relates to power.

Pierre Iachetti, Research Assistant

Pierre Iachetti is a Research Assistant with the NILLA project. Pierre is a PhD candidate in the Civil Engineering Department where he is a member of the Energy Systems & Sustainable Cities groupSustainable Systems Design Lab, and Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic). Pierre’s research focuses on culturally-grounded, net-zero buildings and renewable energy systems in on-reserve First Nations communities where he is currently working with the T’Sou-ke and ʔaq’am First Nations.

Pierre was born in Barbados, West Indies and is of Afro-Caribbean and Italian descent. He has lived in Victoria for over half of his life and raised his family on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. Prior to returning to academia, Pierre spent over a decade in conservation biology having worked on landmark initiatives such as the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, Biodiversity BC, and the Muskwa-Kechika Conservation Area Design.

Nicki Benson, Research Assistant

Nicki is of Jewish ancestry and grew up on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territories in Vancouver. She has an M.A. in Language Education from the University of British Columbia and has been working in language education for 15 years as a teacher, researcher, and education consultant. Since 2013, Nicki has supported Indigenous language revitalization initiatives with organizations such as UNICEF Peru, the BC Ministry of Education, and Kwi Awt Stelmexw.

Nicki is a PhD student in Indigenous Language Revitalization under the supervision of Dr. Onowa McIvor. Her doctoral research will explore success factors in adult immersion education for language reclamation through a case study with the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Language Immersion Program. Nicki is the founder of Esperanza Education, the facilitator of the Spanish for Social Justice Teacher Network, and the mamá of a bilingual two-year-old.

Adam Stone, Research Assistant

Adam Stone is a PhD student of Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a Research Assistant with the NILLA project, where his responsibilities have included informing NILLA map design through surveys of similar maps that exist elsewhere, and the production of supplementary language distribution maps. His main research interests include geolinguistics, supporting Indigenous language education, GIS cartography, and acoustic phonology, and he is currently also serving in other mapping projects focusing on Indigenous and minority languages in Kurdistan, Iran, and Canada. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, rock climbing, visiting new countries, and learning new languages.

Robyn Giffen, Research Assistant

Robyn Giffen is of German and English ancestry and grew up on Treaty 7 land in Calgary, AB. She spent most of her adult life in Kelowna, BC, living, studying, and working on the unceded and ancestral territory of the Sylix and Secwepemc people. She now lives as grateful settler on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen peoples.

As a NEȾOLṈEW̱ research assistant, Robyn currently contributes to the NILLA project. She has an M.A. from the University of British Columbia specializing in Linguistic Anthropology and has worked on Indigenous language revitalization projects in Ghana, Alaska, and Vancouver, BC. Robyn is now a PhD student in Education at UVIC, focusing on Indigenous Language Revitalization. Her research project will analyze and evaluate the Where Are Your Keys (WAYK) teaching and learning method.

Acknowledgement of previous team members

Many wonderful people have contributed to the work of NEȾOLṈEW̱ over the years. They are (in alphabetical order of last name):
Adar Anisman, Carolyn Belleau, Emily Comeau, Nicole Davies, Samaya Jardey, Anureet Lotay, Layla chuutsqa Rorick, Robby Smoker-Peters, Danielle Sullivan.