The Cherokee Nation and Internet Technology: Saving a Culture by Revitalizing its Language. (2011).

The Cherokee Nation and Internet Technology: Saving a Culture by Revitalizing its Language. (2011). [Video]. Santa Clara, California. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsP9YP30dlc

Craig Cornelius of International Engineering Group (at Google), introduces speakers: Joseph Erb, Roy Boney, Jeff Edwards

Joseph Erb [1:59] …

  • Different cultural approaches to technology …
  • Cherokee embraced tech for 100s of years …
  • Partnering with Google, to not risk losing language if not localized …

Roy Boney [3:05] …

  • unique written language …
  • history of borders …
  • gives history of Cherokee nation …
  • Sequoyah creates syllabary, 19th century …
  • 1820 finalized, 85 characters, adopted by Cherokee council 1821 …
  • Federal govt removal policy – Removal of Indians, fed govt, moving to the west …
  • writing system was instrumental in combatting the removal policy …
  • adaptation from cursive to metal type …
  • 1820s printing press … [6:38] …
  • first instance of Cherokee in print, Bible, 1827 [7:33] …
  • established with the American Board of Foreign Missionaries …
  • First indigenous newspaper Cherokee Phoenix (1828), in English and in Cherokee …
  • voice for discusses removal policy [9:01] …
  • circulated in Europe and created awareness of Cherokee language …

Erb [9:46] …

  • unsuccessful in keeping our land …
  • US Supreme Court ruled that Cherokee did not have to move, but Andrew Jackson went ahead with removal …
  • trail of tears, rebuilt society, [10:21] …
  • starting with education, men and women (equal rights), 61 schools, 2 universities, educated entire population for free …
  • tech still advanced …
  • Early tech adopters w telephone. 80-90% literate compared to 13% of whites at the time [11:25] …
  • “It talks in Cherokee” …
  • “If you can use the technology in your language, it’s your technology.” [12:04] …
  • Will Rogers …
  • adopting radio …

Jeff Edwards (?) [13:07] …

  • typewriters (keyboard), pre-1970 example …

Boney [13:59] …

  • continuing typography design, incl by Cherokee speakers …
  • mapped to English characters on keyboard, not Unicode compliant …

Edwards (?) [16:12] …

  • 2003 language survey, less than 10% under-40 were fluent …
  • school materials like in English schools but in Cherokee, made in-house, translating …
  • adopting Unicode made it easier for electronic transfer of documents …
  • pencils, but now w computers “much better process” [17:58] …
  • competing with Spongebob and Dora the Explorer, etc in English …
  • created an animation …
  • 1999-2000 non-Unicode fonts, but can be typed on computer …
  • keyboard layout …

Boney [20:14] …

  • Unicode codepoints in 1995 …
  • getting people to switch fonts “Indigenous Language Institute”, languagegeek.com, font software and keyboards …
  • using Cherokee in a modern context …
  • Cherokee immersion school in Oklahoma …
  • also in North Carolina – video chats between schools [25:22] …

Erb [26:17] …

  • on iPhone, text in their own language, did not give up language skills …
  • elders texting, using devices [27:28] …
  • translating Google Search — texting to reach consensus on terminologies …
  • digital books [28:19] …
  • literacy skills in language, language coming back …
  • Wikipedia articles in Cherokee …
  • poor internet, using smartphones for internet access [30:45] …
  • children writing blogs in Cherokee …

Boney [31:36] …

  • speakers identifying themselves as artists but working with language out of need [32:49] …
  • showing Google Search, Images, Maps in Cherokee …
  • intergenerational tech use because in language …
  • hacking devices (root) to install language [35:20] …

Erb [36:16] …

  • newspaper online … opening more immersion schools …
  • building teams for teaching and tech support …
  • traditional cultures, not just ceremonies, but daily usage [37:44] …
  • “renaissance” [38:30] …

[QUESTIONS start at 40:00]

Q: how are tech terms translated, new concepts?

  • Erb
    • localizing new terms …
    • using Cherokee concepts with some/handful of transliterations [41:10] …

Q: Cherokee as tonal language … tonal marks?

  • Erb
    • no tonal marks, need to know, but working on grant w science foundation for dictionary …
    • Problems with search …
    • certain words from context [43:55] …
    • community is starting to “centralize” spellings [44:30] …

Q: Sequoyah- why not use Latin or Canadian syllabary?

  • Boney
    • may have been a writing system before (tricky?) [45:46] …
    • Sequoyah was in military and saw writing in use …
    • cultural pride in own writing system …
    • “talking leaves” [46:10] …
  • Erb
    • certain missionaries said they shouldn’t have own writing system …
    • discussing attempts to annihilate culture and language [48:30] …
    • Sequoyah not English-literate …
    • syllabary is difficult sometimes — “drops” …

Q: Working w other language groups?

  • Erb
    • lot of outreach …
    • “Not just about the language” [50:45] …
    • rather, natural daily usage …
    • “digital inclusion” [51:30] …

Q: spaces, splitting characters, grammar rules?

  • Boney
    • have grammar book and dictionary [52:22] …
  • Erb
    • like Turkish, “synthetic” [?] language with pre- and suffixes …

[Comment from off-screen] … Book of Roy Boney’s artwork. [55:45]

  • Erb
    • Cherokee history in graphic novel form [56:18] …

Q: re Cherokee Phoenix?

  • Erb
    • many undigitized documents, archives, museums …
  • Boney
    • various other materials, songbooks, etc …
    • maybe OCR …
  • Erb
    • not much tech support …
    • using phones for keyboarding …
    • OS updates may uninstall Cherokee updates [59:50] …

Q: about keyboard … spec for earlier keyboard preferable?

  • Boney
    • phonetic equiv to English keyboards
  • Erb
    • elders prefer traditional, but people presenter’s age prefer the phonetic …
See this page at https://kinasevych.ca/index.php