App aimed at keeping Mi’kmaw language alive helping new generation of learners

Click to play video: 'App aimed at keeping Mi’kmaw language alive seeing success' App aimed at keeping Mi’kmaw language alive seeing success
An app aimed at keeping the Mi’kmaw language alive is seeing great success with nearly 95,000 downloads. It was launched several years ago, but has recently seen an uptick in young families using the tool. Amber Fryday has more – Jun 24, 2022

For many families, the Mi’kmaw language was tragically lost over time but modern technology may help turn that around.

Cassidy Gallant, who is the descendant of a residential school survivor, is using an app called L’nui’suti to teach herself the language.

“I live off the reserve so there aren’t many elders and stuff where I’m from. This is the way I get to learn and I get to come back to my language,” she said.

L’nui’suti was developed by Blaire Gould, JR Isadore, Yolanda Denny, Faye Googoo of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk.

Read more: N.S. introduces legislation to enshrine Mi’kmaw as province’s first language

Before using the app, Gallant could only say two words. Now she is able to share her knowledge with her own two-year-old daughter.

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“She can go back and show the elders like, ‘I know how to count’ and ‘I know this and that’. She feels so proud of herself,” she said.

An organization that oversees education in First Nations communities developed 18 apps as a more accessible way for young families and children to learn the language.

“Because if we lose it now, it’s gone. There’s no other place on earth where we could go and try to revive our language,” said Yolanda Denny, a language consultant who worked on the apps.

“I use a comparison with the French language. If all the French-speaking people in Canada suddenly lost their language, they can go to France and they could learn it from there. We don’t have that luxury.”

Read more: Halifax residents celebrate Mi’kmaw language on Family Literacy Day

Denny said hearing children speak Mi’kmaw makes her feel hopeful.

“The younger you were, the easier it is to retain and learn the language. It’s easier to to pronounce the words, too,” she said.

In an effort to engage more children, Gallant has created something of her own. She is now writing her own Mi’kmaw language colouring and activity books.

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She is also in the process of writing a Mi’kmaw poetry book.

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