Mashpee Wampanoag linguist receives MacArthur 'genius grant'
Jessie Little Doe Baird, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts, has received a prestigious "genius grant" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Baird, who received her graduate degree in linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has spent the 17 years studying the Wampanaog language. She plans to use the $500,000 award to publish children’s books in Wampanoag, develop a language school and promote the language.

“Your one job as an Indian person is to be able to lay on your deathbed and say, ‘I left something for my community that wasn’t here when I came, and I left my community in a better place than I found it,’’’ Baird told The Boston Globe.

Baird's tribe gained federal recognition in May 2007.

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‘Genius grant’ a boost to linguist as she revives a native language (The Boston Globe 9/28)