Local First Nation members are re-kindling a language in decline through the power of touchscreen technology.
Up to 500 words, phrases and songs in the Stoney Nakoda language were recorded onto a new mobile app which launched Tuesday (June 27) during an unveiling at Nakoda Elementary School in Morley.
“We’re hoping young parents will learn enough words so they can teach their children at home. If it’s taught at home at a young age, it stays with you for the rest of your life,” said elder Tina Fox.
Anyone will be able to download the Stoney Nakoda Language app for free on a mobile phone.
The app was given life through support of the Stoney Education Authority, which is a big supporter of the creation of the app, said Fox.
Fox and a committee of elders and nation members decided on which everyday words and phrases would be used for the app, including the ABCs, numbers, months, weekdays, animals, lands, and lakes, among others.
The total Stoney Nakoda population in Morley, Eden Valley and Bighorn is about 5,000 members.
Fox says fewer than half of the nation members, approximately 1,900 people, are able to speak Stoney.
“It’s declining because young people are preferring to speak English and it’s the first language they learn growing up, whereas for myself, my children, and my grandchildren, Nakoda was the first language we learned at home and that’s declining, sadly.
“Now we have a better chance for our young people to learn the words and speak them.”