Cherokee Nation Partners With Apple

In the December 23, 2010 issue of the Seattle Times newspaper, columnist Murray Evans’ headline reported: Cherokee, Apple Partner to put language on iPhones.

Although 290 000 individuals belong to the Cherokee Nation, only about 8 000 Cherokee speakers remain. To combat this decline, tribal officials created a Cherokee-only language immersion school in Oklahoma in 2001 where children enrolled in kindergarten through grade 5 work on their laptops using a Macintosh operating system that recognizes the 85 Cherokee syllables that the blacksmith Sequoyah converted to written form in 1821.

In September 2010 after discussions and meetings with the Cherokee chief about developing more Cherokee language software, Apple announced they would release Cherokee applications for the iPod and iPhone. These apps allow individuals to continue communicating in Cherokee outside of the school environment and have started to appeal to people outside of the educational setting as well, illustrating the initial success of this innovative approach meant to strengthen cultural identity through indigenous language development.




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