Meadow Lake Tribal Council creating apps to teach Cree, Dene languages

The Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) is using modern technology as it tries to preserve and teach Dene and Cree.

Cree language revitalization consultant Gwen Cubbon said the approach will result in two new apps that teach the Indigenous words and phrases.

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“It’s pretty amazing that we can preserve this … each app that we have is unique to the community we are creating it for,” Cubbon said.

“For MLTC, there’s nine (First Nation) communities … four Dene and five Cree. I’m specifically working on the Cree app and I’m focusing on certain words that may necessarily not be said in our community but will be focused on what they say in their community.

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“My community, for example, we have a bit of Michif, we have a bit of French and Cree, all blended together.”

Cubbon hopes the apps inspire an appreciation for the languages in newer generations.

“One unique thing about this app is that we’re getting voices of our community and elders and kids and students, like, their voices are going to be on there and hopefully that ignites something in them to be excited about preserving and keeping the language,” she said.

“My community has had European influence for so very long because we are right next to the fur trade … for my generation, there’s barely any of us and I’m not that old.

“There’s not many of us that are willing or find it hard to find these resources to learn so I’m really excited that they have this tool where they can hear and practice.”

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Cubbon said the Cree app already has 16 categories of vocabulary and phrases and the other will have 22.

“All you have to do is click on one of the categories and a picture will come up and you just press on the sound and it’ll say the words for you,” she said.

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“There’s a few unique sounds in Cree that you can’t use with English.”

The app is available on the Apple Store.

Meadow Lake is approximately 255 km northwest of Saskatoon.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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