FirstVoices: FirstVoices

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FirstVoices is a suite of web-based tools and services designed to support Aboriginal people engaged in language archiving, language teaching and culture revitalization.


June 18, 2012
New App enables Indigenous language speakers to text in their languages
Brentwood Bay, B.C. – FirstVoices Chat, an Indigenous language texting app for Facebook Chat and Google Talk, is now available at the Apple App Store as a free download for iPad, iTouch and iPhone. The app contains custom keyboards for hundreds of Indigenous languages in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The app can be downloaded from:
“We’re excited to launch this new piece of technology, which allows First Nations people to return to the everyday use of their heritage languages using their mobile devices,” said Peter Brand, FirstVoices Manager at the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. “The primary audience for the new app is First Nations youth, but we expect the positive effects of these innovative literacy tools to ripple out to speakers and learners of all ages.”
FirstVoices Chat was developed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council with funding from the First Nations Technology Council. “The First Nations Technology Council is thrilled to participate in the development of a tool that contributes to First Nations language revitalization by enabling their use in daily conversations,” said Norm Leech, Executive Director of the FNTC. The development of the keyboarding technology at the core of FirstVoices Chat was funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Aboriginal Languages Initiative.
Samantha Etzel, one of eight SENĆOŦEN language apprentices at the LÁU,WELNEW Tribal School in Brentwood Bay, B.C. says, “It is exciting when my daughter asks me to text words to her in our language. To have the technology at our fingertips adds to ways of learning for our community members who live off-reserve, but still have a desire to learn.”
FirstVoices Chat had a high profile introduction in Vancouver on February 24. Their Honours Lieutenant Governor Steven Point and his wife Gwendolyn, long-time language champions of the Sto:lo First Nation, exchanged their first text message in their Halq’eméylem language before several hundred delegates at the First Nations Technology Council ICT Summit.
Media Contact:
Susan De Stephanis The First Peoples’ Cultural Council (250) 652-5952 ext. 216

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About @mediamentor
Information Curation, Communication & Media / Cure d'information, communication et medias

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