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.
About the First Peoples’ Cultural Council
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is a B.C. Crown Corporation with the mandate to support
First Nations in their efforts to revitalize their languages, arts and cultures. FPCC has distributed
more than $22 million to B.C. Aboriginal communities since 1990.
To learn more please visit:
First Peoples’ Cultural Council: http://www.fpcc.ca
First Nations Technology Council: http://www.fntc.info