Biographical / Historical
Blair Arnold Rudes was a linguist specializing in Native American languages, particularly those originating in eastern North America. Aside from working in academia for many years, Rudes also used his linguistic skills as a language education expert and consultant and was involved in projects related to film dialog translation, federal recognition of Native American tribes, and education for migrant and Native American students in the United States. He was best known in the Native American community for his extensive work documenting endangered indigenous languages (such as Tuscarora) as well as reconstructing Native languages that were dormant or lost to history and assimilation (such as costal Algonquian and Catawba). At the time of his death in 2008, he was an Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
Rudes was born in Gloversville, NY on May 18, 1951. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo where he studied linguistics at the undergraduate and graduate level. As a masters student in the mid-1970s, he was exposed to the Seneca language through his landlady who was also a graduate student studying the language. As Rudes learned more about Seneca, he quickly became interested in it and the rest of the Iroquoian languages, particularly Tuscarora. Before long Rudes was visiting the Tuscarora Reservation near Buffalo and learning the language from fluent speakers. He was awarded his Doctorate in linguistics in 1976. After graduating, he briefly spent time as a Fulbright scholar in Romania and as a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park before being hired as a consultant for Development Associates, Inc.
For almost twenty years, Rudes worked on various language-related projects for Development Associates and as an independent contractor. Most of these projects studied academic programs and performance of minority, migrant, and Native American students with special language issues. Rudes was also hired as a researcher and consultant by the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe between 1994 and 2003 to assist in their petition for federal recognition. In 1999, Rudes returned to academia and was hired as an Assistant Professor of English in the Applied Linguistics Program at U.N.C. Charlotte. That same year he published his seminal Tuscarora-English/English Tuscarora Dictionary.
Aside from his academic duties, Rudes continued to work independently as a language consultant and was hired in 2004 to reconstruct the Virginia Algonquian language for the New Line film
The New World
(2005). Rudes also assisted in coaching actors in speaking the language, which had been dormant since the early 18th century. In order to finish translating dialog into Virginia Algonquian on time, Rudes was reported to have shut himself into his Williamsburg hotel room for nearly a month, working feverishly until his task was completed. Rudes was also hired as a Mayan dialog coach for the Paramount Pictures film
Throughout his career, Rudes was active in the Foundation for Endangered Languages, the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, the annual Algonquian Conference, and the American Society for Ethnohistory. He presented and published regularly about his work with Native American languages, especially Virginia and Carolina Algonquian, Catawba, Mohawk, and Tuscarora. Rudes died of a heart attack on March 16 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Whitford, Sara. "The Algonquian Language Reborn: An Interview with Blair Rudes." Coastal Carolina Indian Center, 2011. Accessed April 12, 2016. http://www.coastalcarolinaindians.com/the-algonquian-language-reborn-an-interview-with-blair-rudes/
Whitford, Sara. "Obituary: Blair A. Rudes, PhD – Linguistics Advisor to CCIC." Coastal Carolina Indian Center, 2011. Accessed April 12, 2016. http://www.coastalcarolinaindians.com/obituary-blair-a-rudes-phd-linguistics-advisor-to-ccic/
Born on May 18 in Gloversville, New York.
Awarded Bachelors of Art in linguistics from the University of Buffalo.
Awarded Masters of Art in linguisitcs from the University of Buffalo.
Awarded Ph.D in linguistics from the University of Buffalo.
Awarded Fulbright Scholarship to teach linguistics at the University of Bucharest in Romania.
Hired as a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Worked for Development Associates, Inc. as an educational consultant.
Hired by the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe to assist in their petition for recognition from the federal government.
Hired as an Assistant Professor in the Applied Linguistics Program in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
Worked as a Virginia Algonquian translator and dialog coach for
The New World
Promoted to Associate Professor at U.N.C. Charlotte.
Recognized by the Tuscarora Nation for contributions to preserving the Tuscarora language.
Worked as a Mayan dialog coach for
Recognized by the South Carolina General Assembly in a resolution for work done for the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs.
Awarded the University at Buffalo's Distinguished Alumni Award.
Died on March 16 in Charlotte, North Carolina.