July 28, 2009

Cherokee phone-app video

Free Cherokee Language iPod/iPhone AppCherokee Lite (Free). Available on iTunes App Store now.

Thornton Media presents the FIRST EVER indigenous language iPod/iPhone App in the iTunes store. Available NOW! Free Cherokee Lite app, full version $9.99. Contact us to create one in YOUR language!

From the leaders in "Language Tools for Indian Country" (http://www.ndnlanguage.com).

Sci-fi film in Tsilhqot'in

Over in my Newspaper Rock blog I reported on a science-fiction movie being filmed in the Tsilhqot'in language. Check it out.

July 22, 2009

Language products for iPod and iPhone

Thornton Media, Inc.Thornton Media, Inc. creates custom hi-tech tools to help save endangered indigenous languages.

We are Native-owned and have worked with over 100 American Indian tribes and Canadian First Nations since 1995.
Thornton Media Inc.:  Our StoryA New Beginning...With Award Winning Products!

We continue to listen to our client's needs. TMI's clients were demanding a more flexible product at a lower price. By mid-2009, Thornton Media developed the Language Pal software to program Nintendo DSi specifically for language teaching. By August 2008, the decision was made to stop selling the defense technology because of rising prices and other issues. Thornton Media also responded by programming smaller hand-helds, creating iPod Touch/iPhone Apps, with many more features at a very low cost. Thornton Media will continue to finance the creation of programmable open-source software that would be available to tribes at no cost.
Comment:  I assume the "defense technology" refers to Thornton's Phraselator products.

July 09, 2009

First Salish graduating class

Nkwusm works to preserve Salish language

By Mark RatledgeNkwusm, a Salish Language immersion school on the Salish-Kootenai Reservation in Arlee, Mont. had its first graduation June 12.

Three boys and one girl, all 14 years old finished their language immersion program and next year will move into the public school system.

Located in an old bowling alley built in the late 1970s, the school has renovated the building into classrooms, and a capital campaign is in progress to raise funds for a new building. Inside, the classrooms look like any other school, except for the Salish alphabet on the walls and artwork depicting Salish cultural activities, and the sounds of children talking and singing in Salish. The school itself is operated by the Nkwusm Salish Language Revitalization Institute, a nonprofit formed in 2003 to research, promote and preserve the Salish Language.
Below:  "Patrick Pierre, 80, a Pend d’Oreille elder and fluent Salish speaker, who teaches at NKwusm, and Ma’ii Pete, 14, one of the school’s first graduating students in the class of 2009, are seen at Nkwusm’s graduation pow wow June 13." (Photo courtesy Mark Ratledge)

English/Ojibwe signage

From the Bemidji Pioneer, 7/8/09:

Ojibwe language:  Bemidji businesses adopt bilingual signage“Aaniin” “Boozhoo”--customers to Bemidji’s Cabin Coffee House & Café are now welcomed in both Ojibwe and English.

Table tents show them numbers, animals and the major Red Lake clans in both languages. And they can try their Ojibwe language skills to order makade-mashkikiwaaboo (coffee) and naboob (soup).

Noemi Aylesworth, Cabin Coffee House owner, said the idea came from Shared Vision, a Bemidji group working to make relations between American Indians and members of the majority culture more comfortable and friendly.
Below:  "Noemi Aylesworth, owner of the Cabin Coffee House & Café, holds a table tent listing the seven major Red Lake Nation clans in Ojibwe and English. Hers is the first business to go bilingual, but nine others have committed to the movement suggested by Shared Vision." (Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron)

July 07, 2009

Native language summer schools

Native language summer schools growingA new Navajo language summer school is being offered by Albuquerque Public Schools this year in New Mexico.

The program aims to help American Indian children in the area stay connected to their heritage and motivate them to achieve more academically.

The Santa Fe-based Indigenous Language Institute which tries to preserve native languages says New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and North Dakota lead the country in allowing Native Americans to teach their languages in public school classrooms.

Robert Cook, the president of the National Indian education Association, says native language schools are growing nationwide.
Classes aim to preserve urban Indians' heritage

By Heather ClarkOn his first day of the summer program, Lucas learned about the Navajo Code Talkers and how they confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language.

"That really drew him in right away," Mike Arviso said. "Because of the language, a single word has so many different meanings."

While many of the families want the instruction because of practical reasons, like enabling their children to speak with relatives in their native language, Thompson also sees long-term educational benefits.

Research shows that becoming disconnected from their culture leads to a lack of motivation among Native American students and can leave students behind academically, Thompson said.

For example, among New Mexico 10th graders taking the state high school competency exam, only 47 percent of Native American students passed the first time, compared with 77 percent of white students, according to state Public Education Department data for the 2007-2008 school year.

"If the Native American children feel that their culture, their language, their heritage is valued in the school, they will be very motivated," Thompson said.