Vancouver Island University grad develops Cree-language app to help preserve Indigenous languages

Vancouver Island University

from Global News:

The Athabasca Tribal Council wants to make sure indigenous languages are not lost. So it took matters into its own hands — to put language back into the hands of youth.

A free app, called ATC Cree, provides hundreds of words with their Cree translation.

“It has categories of words,” developer Byron Bates explained. “You can press on a category and it has a list of words with the English, the Cree, and a play button.

Bates was approached by the council to help create the app as a way to get young people more engaged in the language.

“I think most indigenous languages are under threat of being slowly lost,” he said. “Cree was the most spoken language in Canada before contact. If we didn’t have colonization, our national language would probably be Cree.”

So far, the team has recorded 447 words, about 120 of which are already on the app.

“We’re going to go around to the other member nations of the Athabasca Tribal Council — there’s five member nations; three of the nations speak Cree, two are Dene. We’re going to go around and record elders from each community that speaks Cree and put it into the app,” Bates said.

Read the full article here.