The decline of aboriginal languages is part of the tragic legacy of Canada’s residential school system. Mike Parkhill, founder of aboriginal language advocacy website SayitFirst.ca believes that technology can help save lost languages. A past Microsoft director, Parkhill says his main goal is to ‘revitalize the language’ so that he can help the First Nations people. His main concentration is to get the language back so that he can support saving culture. Another goal he has is to modernize Indigenous language using technology making it easier to communicate modern thoughts. He talks about how Indigenous names have no literal meaning to modern words. For instance, the Inuktitut meaning for the Internet is translated literally into “my body stays here but my soul travels other places”. Parkhill believes that using software to help translate modern words into usable Indigenous meanings will help preserve Indigenous culture.
In Addition, Brent Tookenay from “Seven Generations Educational Institute“, teamed up with Parkhill to further collaborate on digitizing Indigenous languages. If Tookenay is able to bring all of the Indigenous content and Parkhill has the technical knowledge, together they can help preserve lost languages.
Because we live in a digital age, there are many tools at their disposal. Using just a mobile phone and an app called “Arasma” parents can now read children books to their kids in their native language.