Stephanie "Morning Fire" Fielding (Mohegan: Yôpôwi Yoht) is a Mohegan linguist. Her work focuses on the resurrection and revitalization of the Mohegan language. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at Yale University.
Biography and career
Fielding lives on the Mohegan reservation in southeastern Connecticut, in Uncasville. Fielding holds a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and anthropology from the University of Connecticut, as well as a Master of Science in linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She often translates English into Mohegan for speakers at Mohegan traditional ceremonies. She was the first student to graduate from a two-year Masters program at MIT "for members of indigenous communities whose languages are dead or dying." Her Master's thesis, The Phonology of Mohegan-Pequot, includes diary excerpts written in Mohegan from her relative Fidelia Fielding, the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan language. Much of Fielding's graduate work focused on linguistic algorithms that allow her to take accepted proto-Algonquian words in order to recreate an authentic Mohegan vocabulary. In 2006, Fielding published A Modern Mohegan Dictionary. She also created the online Mohegan Language Project, a central part of her efforts to keep her ancestral language alive. Of this project, Fielding states that "the goal is fluency," and offers links to a Mohegan-English dictionary, phrase book, pronunciation guide, exercises, and an audio option. In an interview with the New York Times, Fielding said "In order for a language to survive and resurrect, it needs people talking it, and for people to talk it, there has to be a society that works on it."
She has worked "as a teacher, writer, editor, graphic artist and radio announcer. She has also served on the board of directors of educational institutions, media outlets, non-profit organizations, and religious organizations."