[Algonquiana] Dr. Barbara Burnaby, long-time supporter of the Algonquian Conference, deceased
mmackenz at mun.ca
Thu Mar 22 10:59:02 EDT 2018
Barbara Jane Burnaby passed away on February 2, 2018 in St John's,
Newfoundland. She was 74.
Barbara completed both a Bachelor of Fine Art (1965) and a Master of Arts in
Linguistics (1972) at the University of Toronto. In 1979 she completed her
PhD in Education Theory at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
(OISE); her dissertation was entitled Roles of Languages in Education for
Native Children in Ontario.
That same year, Barbara joined OISE as Research Associate for ESL and Native
Language research. Prior to her appointment as Associate Professor in the
Department of Adult Education at OISE in 1986, she served as the Executive
Head for Sponsored Research. From 1991 to 1995 she served as Chair,
Department of Adult Education, and from 1995, she was appointed Professor in
the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. In 2000, Barbara left
OISE to serve as Dean and Professor of language policy and education in the
Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland. One of her
first projects as Dean was to travel to the north coast of Labrador to visit
communities and schools in order to promote cooperation between the Faculty
of Education and Labrador communities.
Barbara was a prolific researcher and writer, contributing to over 30 books
in her lifetime. In the mid-1980s she worked on a series of English as
Second Language (ESL) professional development modules with Jill Bell and
Jane Love. In the late 80s, she worked with faculty at OISE to produce the
Circle program, a collection of ESL and reading resources designed for Cree
and Ojibwe speaking children. In addition to developing language education
materials, she wrote about language policy, endangered languages, and adult
education. Her research project with Dr. Marguerite MacKenzie, Knowledge and
Human Resources for Innu Language Development, was awarded a SSHRC CURA
grant of nearly one million dollars in 2004.
She was extraordinarily generous with her time and took a great deal of
pride in her students' work, keeping a copy of each thesis and dissertation
she had supervised on her bookshelves for the remainder of her life. Barbara
also took great pride in the 2013 publication of A Celebration of
Qualitative Research: A Festschrift for Dr. Barbara Burnaby, prepared by her
former OISE graduate students.
After her retirement in 2005, Barbara remained quite active, devoting a
large portion of her time to her volunteer work, her art, and her gardening.
Barbara was a tireless advocate for literacy, particularly Indigenous
language literacy. The Burnaby Aboriginal Literacy Blog, co-created with
Arden Ogg, included one of the most extensive bibliographies of articles and
works on the topic. In her later years in St. John's, Barbara was also
instrumental in supporting and advocating for the Refugee Immigrant and
Advisory Council (RIAC) and the Coalition on Richer Diversity (CORD),
through donations, representing RIAC on various St. John's committees, as
well as writing grant and research proposals and letters of advocacy on
Outside of her work in education, Barbara was an accomplished artist and
crafter, working in the media of painting, printmaking, and textiles, among
others. Her fabric cyanotypes, often made from plants grown in her backyard,
are instantly recognizable, as are the jackets, bags and quilts she made
from the fabric.
Barbara's health declined rapidly in 2017, taking her friends somewhat by
surprise. She was able to conceal her illness for quite some time, owing in
part to her unwavering cheerfulness and generosity towards others, for which
she will always be remembered.
Marguerite MacKenzie, Professor Emerita
Department of Linguistics, Memorial University
St. John's, NL A1C 3X9
<tel:(709)%20726-6503> 709-726-6503, <tel:(709)%20771-6503> 709-771-6503
<tel:(709)%20864-8134> 709-864-8134 (departmental secretary),
<tel:(709)%20864-2135> 709-864-2135 (fax)
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