December 24, 2010

Cherokee on the iPhone

Cherokee, Apple partner to put language on iPhones

By Murray EvansNine-year-old Lauren Hummingbird wants a cell phone for Christmas—and not just any old phone, but an iPhone. Such a request normally would be met with skepticism by her father, Cherokee Nation employee Jamie Hummingbird.

He could dismiss the obvious reasons a kid might want an iPhone, except for this—he's a proud Cherokee and buying his daughter the phone just might help keep the tribe's language alive.

Nearly two centuries after a blacksmith named Sequoyah converted Cherokee into its own unique written form, the tribe has worked with Apple to develop Cherokee language software for the iPhone, iPod and—soon—the iPad. Computers used by students—including Lauren—at the tribe's language immersion school already allow them to type using Cherokee characters.

The goal, Cherokee Chief Chad Smith said, is to spread the use of the language among tech-savvy children in the digital age. Smith has been known to text students at the school using Cherokee, and teachers do the same, allowing students to continue using the language after school hours.

December 20, 2010

Apple apps for British Columbia's languages

Aboriginal apps give old languages modern edge

By Judith LavoieSome of British Columbia's ancient languages are getting an ultra-modern boost in the hopes that cool technology will appeal to young aboriginal people.

New language apps for Apple's iPod, iPad and iPhone devices have been developed for two native languages in the province: Sencoten, spoken on southern Vancouver Island; and Halq'emeylem, spoken in the Fraser Valley.

Six more communities are using archives of recorded words and phrases to build mobile audio dictionaries with funding help from the province.

"Young people today are distracted by a lot of technology. They want to text, be on the web and play games," says Peter Brand, co-ordinator of FirstVoices, which helped develop the apps. "And so we knew that, if we had any hope of keeping the language in front of them, it had to be presented in these ways."

December 05, 2010

3rd annual Lakota language summit

Native Sun News:  Summit keeps Native languages on frontburner

By Evelyn BroecherThe non-profit organization, Tusweca Tiospaye, recognized that the language of the Great Sioux Nation is nearing extinction and began their annual language summit in 2007. There are now K-12 language programs implemented in schools and adult classes will be offered in the near future.

In November thousands of people from 40 Sioux bands and one New Zealander attended the three-day Third Annual Language Summit at the Ramkota Hotel. Agenda material indicated the last major gathering of the Seven Council Fires was over 130 years ago which ended with the death of George Armstrong Custer.