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High school student creating an app to revive an Indigenous language
U16 volleyball player Tessa Erickson, of Team British Columbia, smiles ahead of the opening ceremony for the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto, Sunday, July 16, 2017. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

High school student creating an app to revive an Indigenous language

A 15-year-old high school student in British Columbia is turning to technology to help address a decades-old problem–how to revive an Indigenous language nearly lost to the residential school system.

Tessa Erickson of the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation is creating a cellphone app which will be supported with summer camps aimed at youth speaking their dialect of the Dakelh language.

The app will teach greetings and give answers for simple questions, and Erickson hopes it will be ready this spring so the teens and pre-teens can use it before heading off to immersive summer camps.

The Grade 10 student says getting young people to learn the language is important to her because it’s a way to connect between generations.

Mark Turin, chair of the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program at the University of British Columbia, says revitalizing languages is key to reconciliation with Indigenous people.

He says there’s an exciting energy across the country among people looking to save and revive mother tongues, but a key to revitalization is everyday use of the language.

(The Canadian Press)

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