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Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 7:58 am
by Jan
It is with great sadness in my heart that I have to announce the loss of a dear friend and one of the administrators who established the Lakota language forum back in 2008. Nina Webster passed away at 2:29 in the morning on December 2nd, 2017. She was 79 years old.

Many of the members of the Lakota Language Forum remember Nina’s kind and devoted moderating and administrating of the forum. She was always encouraging to learners, super positive and always bringing out the best in people. And she was also passionate about the Lakota language and committed to helping it survive in any way she could.

Nina and I first got in touch in May 2002 when she e-mailed me some questions and comments regarding a Lakota language learning website I maintained at that time. It soon became obvious that Nina was very enthusiastic about learning Lakota and we started exchanging e-mails regularly, sharing ideas and feedback about our Lakota study. She also helped me with some projects, such as digitizing archival materials on Lakota and proofreading the Lakota lexical database. At that time Nina was still employed and was able to devote only a portion of her free time to these activities. But in 2007 she retired and she expressed her wish to contribute more volunteer based work towards various Lakota language projects. I think that at that time neither of us anticipated how much involved she would become and to how many projects she would eventually contribute. She helped tremendously with the Lakota Language textbook series, did an enormous amount of proofreading of the New Lakota Dictionary and Lakota Grammar Handbook, as well as many other projects. And her eye for catching typos and editing problems was increadible.

Nina’s knowledge of Lakota increased rapidly and over the years she developed such a deep understanding of Lakota grammar that she was able to provide highly informed feedback on content of textbooks and grammars. During many of the projects I was basically in a daily contact with her via Skype, discussing edits, brainstorming and making improvements. I remember that whenever I was out of ideas or inspiration as to how to present certain things in a project I would just call Nina and discuss it with her and all of a sudden a solution presented itself. Brainstorming about creative projects with others always helps, but Nina was special in her ability to analyze whatever issue and provide great feedback on it.

She didn’t have an academic background, but the more deeply she studied the language, the more obvious it became that she had a great capacity to approach things at a very high intellectual level. During the seventh decade of her life, she learned to understand complexities of Lakota morphology and syntax at a level where she was not only able to provide feedback to pedagogical materials but also to highly technical linguistic papers. She even bought linguistic books to educate herself further. Yet, she was always very humble about her knowledge and often apprehensive about new projects, questioning whether she would have the skills and knowledge necessary to help with them. Back in 2002 she was new to computers and only knew how to do some very basic things on them. But during her work on the projects she learned to work with a tremendous amount of software utilities.

At first, Nina and I were merely sharing our enthusiasms for the language. But very early on we really clicked and became very close friends. Even before her retirement I invited her to come and visit me and my family. She came several times and became fond of my wife and children. We returned the visit on a number of occasions, too, and my children would call her "Aunty Nina". Nina was the kind of person who is fun to be around. Over the years she provided a lot of support for me, not only practical support on the projects but also emotional support during times of professional or personal struggle. I will miss her greatly.

Nina’s contribution to the Lakota language is vast. She was one of the people who felt that those coming to the realm of Lakota language revitalization from the outside community have a responsibility to not only show respect to the language by learning it well, but also to volunteer their time and effort to help the native community preserve their language. And she stood by that conviction till her last days.

Jan

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 1:14 pm
by Daniel
Dear Jan,

All my condolences to you and Nina's family.

You were fortunate to meet that great lady and to work with her.

I didn't know her personally like you but I never forget that it was she who welcomed me with kindness in the LOO/LLF many years ago.

I do know that Nina's contribution to the Lakota language is vast, so her passing is a great loss for all of us.

Allow me to share your grief, my friend.

Daniel

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 2:11 pm
by Kevin
Tóhaŋni Nina kičhí miyé íyatayela átawečhiye šni. Lél ogná ečé tuktéktel wóuŋkičhiwapi. Ho éyaš hetáŋhaŋ líla wíŋyaŋ oȟ’áŋwašte na waúŋšila čha tȟaŋíŋ. Ho na thiwáhe na thiyóšpaye tȟáwa héči hená tuwá tȟekíȟilapi čha tuwá wawóptetu šni čha gnúnipi na hé uŋ etáŋhaŋ iyówičhawečišiče. Óhiŋniyaŋ lél šna čhaŋtékič’uŋyaŋ ilág’ič’iyiŋ našná wawókiye. Na agná tuwá wókiwa háŋtaŋ takómni kiwáštečakiŋ na yuónihaŋyaŋ šna khuwá s’a. Waslólye éyaš tóhaŋni tuwéni iwáŋkab'ič’ila šni. Tuwá tuktél oglúšiče háŋtaŋš wígnu šni éyaš ečháŋleš tókhel okíhika wasásyela aphíya ókiye. Lakȟóta iyápi kiŋ glukínipi kiŋ él líla škíŋčiye éyaš iglátaŋ šni lazáta ečé ophíič’iye. Leháŋl čónala héčhečapi. Léčhiya táku kič’úŋ na tókhel ótakiya ič’íč’u kiŋ hená toháŋčhiŋka kiksúya uŋk’úŋpi kte. Taŋyáŋ slolwáye šni éyaš wičhóni tȟáwa kiŋ etáŋhaŋ wóuŋspe iwáču kiŋ takúŋl él éwačhaŋmi háŋtaŋš nat’úŋke šni okáȟ’ol iyémič’iyiŋ kte. Héčhel iyúha wóiwaŋyaŋke éuŋkičiglepe ló. Wóphila tȟáŋka héčha yeló! Nina

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 2:26 pm
by Alí
My sincere sympathy to Nina's family and to you. I will not forget her.

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 3:10 pm
by qbear
I never got to meet her in person, but her posts have been invaluable to my learning here on the forum. I greatly appreciate her commitment to the revitalization of the Lakota language. Thanks for the post Jan.

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2017, 4:32 pm
by mitchmiye
Condolences to the LLF gang here. Nina was such an enjoyable person to learn the language with, and I have nothing but great memories with her here on this forum. Her dedication to the language and eagerness to help others was genuine and inspiring.

Thank you, haŋkaši.

Mitch

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 4th, 2017, 1:18 am
by GnaskaGleska1
Jan, I didn't know Nina, but being aware of how dear she was to you, and how dedicated she had been to the LLF, I send you and her family my condolences.
Caroline

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 5th, 2017, 11:28 am
by dlostrander
I would also like to express my condolences to you and Nina's family. I was very blessed to have "Skyped" with Nina in my journey of learning Lakȟótiyapi. She was such a kind,tolerant,knowledgeable and gentle lady. I will always remember her lovely voice.
Óhiŋniyaŋ ómakiye kiŋ uŋ philámayaya ečhíčiye ló, Nina.
Dennis

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 11th, 2017, 2:18 am
by Jana
I wrote my thoughts on Facebook already. Somehow it feels way harder to do so in the Forum. Nina, you will be so much missed. I was always sure I would meet you in person one day, Bristol was surely planned for my next UK visit - and it hurts to know that this day will never come. It is so comforting to have your posts and your messages to read and read again to keep your spirit in our hearts - where you will always be.

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 12th, 2017, 6:35 pm
by wolfelikeme
My condolences, I am grateful for her dedication and contributions and pray for comfort for those she has left behind.

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 14th, 2017, 12:49 pm
by NancyD
My condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Nina. She was always helpful to others. Nina shall be missed. :rose:

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: December 15th, 2017, 8:21 am
by Jaroslav
As I have already mentioned on FB, though I have never met her, I had impression she was a very good human being.

She will be missing.

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: January 3rd, 2018, 11:23 am
by Jan
I just added a beautiful picture of Nina when she was younger.

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: January 4th, 2018, 2:51 am
by Daniel
Jan, kȟolá, Nina itówapi kiŋ hé líla wašté čha philámayaye ló. :clapping:

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2018, 4:38 am
by Imre
My condolences to you and the family! I dug up Nina's warm welcoming words to me back from 2009, barely 10 years ago, and all the messages we exchanged... she was a very exceptional person, among other qualities for her ability to be so direct and friendly to us, perfect strangers who came to the LLF. This community definitely held a very special place in her heart, reading the message in which she explained to me, that she wanted this forum to be like a big family, asking us to use our real names rather than nickname-masks, to be more personal. She really had a very deep understanding of the lakota language, and I cannot count her invaluable helping hints, corrections, teaching that she wrote in the Forum. :( Many many times she coordinated me to the right path when my translation or concept was a complete miss, politely, with contribution. :( This community, the lakota language speaking family and the whole world became less without you! We'll miss you, and I'm very sad that the newcomers will not have the opportunity to experience your warm welcome. But through your posts you remain with us in every topic of the forum!

I wanted to write tókša akhé, but very sadly it is not appropriate now... :( May you rest in peace Nina!

Imre

Re: Nina Webster made her journey south

PostPosted: May 5th, 2018, 4:12 pm
by Jan
Imre wrote:My condolences to you and the family! I dug up Nina's warm welcoming words to me back from 2009, barely 10 years ago, and all the messages we exchanged... she was a very exceptional person, among other qualities for her ability to be so direct and friendly to us, perfect strangers who came to the LLF. This community definitely held a very special place in her heart, reading the message in which she explained to me, that she wanted this forum to be like a big family, asking us to use our real names rather than nickname-masks, to be more personal. She really had a very deep understanding of the lakota language, and I cannot count her invaluable helping hints, corrections, teaching that she wrote in the Forum. :( Many many times she coordinated me to the right path when my translation or concept was a complete miss, politely, with contribution. :( This community, the lakota language speaking family and the whole world became less without you! We'll miss you, and I'm very sad that the newcomers will not have the opportunity to experience your warm welcome. But through your posts you remain with us in every topic of the forum!

I wanted to write tókša akhé, but very sadly it is not appropriate now... :( May you rest in peace Nina!

Imre


Taŋyáŋ waéhe ló, kȟolá.