How AI and immersive technology are being used to revitalize Indigenous languages

Researchers on Vancouver Island are working on innovative ways, including artificial intelligence and immersive technology, to revitalize Indigenous languages.

Sara Child has been working to revive her language, Kwak’wala, on northern Vancouver Island.

According to estimates by the First People Cultural Council in B.C., there are only about 140 speakers fluent in Kwak’wala across more than a dozen First Nations.

Child, a Kwagu’ł band member and professor in Indigenous education at North Island College in Courtenay, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, says most of the speakers in her community are in their 70s and 80s. 

She created the Sanyakola Foundation, which works with elders to find ways of passing on the language. 

The language, she says, is inextricably linked to the land and wellness, and requires different ways of learning. 

“After decades of being forcibly disconnected from the land and our lifestyle changes, many of our elders, the language of the land is trapped in their memories,” Child said. 

“And so we spent hours of work working with elders, trying to unlock that knowledge of the language of the land.”

Child realized the need to tap into the vast archives of recordings of Kwak’wala gathered by anthropologists and other researchers over nearly a century.

Read more: CBC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

16 − 16 =