In collaboration with Indigenous communities and language experts, we have developed technologies that contribute to revitalization of Indigenous languages.
Collaborative projects have generated new speech- and text-based resources for Indigenous language students, educators, translators, transcribers and other language professionals, and have helped increase the accessibility of audio and video recordings.
News and events
Community workshops for Indigenous language technologies
- January 28, 2021: Tsilhqot'in language technologies and capacity building
- December 7, 2020: ReadAlong technology for Indigenous languages by Pat Littell and Aidan Pine, NRC; Movie Magic language videos by Stephanie Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi Algonquin-speaking community
- June 2021: National Indigenous History Month 2021
- December 2019: Revitalizing Indigenous languages through mobile apps and human connections
- January 2019: The International Year of Indigenous Languages
With collaborators, we have worked on technologies for over 25 languages: Algonquin, Atikamekw, Chatino, Chukchi, Cree (several dialects), Gitksan, Gwichʼin, Hän, Hoocąk, Innu, Inuktitut, Kaska, Kwak'wala, Lingít, Michif (the Métis language), Mi'kmaw, Mohawk (two dialects), Naskapi, Northern and Southern Tutchone, N̓syilxčn̓, SENĆOŦEN, Seneca, Tagish, Tŝilhqot'in, Tsuut'ina, and Upper Tanana.
Each software tool is initially specialized to 1 or 2 Indigenous languages, in a way that allows customization for additional languages. Language-independent software is released to communities as open-source.
Our project team
We are committed to developing technology in collaboration with Indigenous stakeholders. We worked with an Indigenous advisory committee, who advised on collaborative methodologies and evaluated project implementations from 2018-2020.
Chair of the NRC's Indigenous Languages Technology Project Advisory Committee
Secretary-Treasurer, Prairies to Woodlands Indigenous Language Revitalization Circle
Heather is currently directing a new Master-Apprentice Program in Manitoba and is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Prairies to Woodlands Indigenous Language Revitalization Circle. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Education in Indigenous Language Revitalization from the University of Victoria. Heather is reclaiming her heritage language and, in collaboration with Elders, has published educational resources for the Michif language, such as a conversational phrase book and a college level beginner's course. Heather's interests include the use of the Internet to reach language learners in the diaspora and to create technology-mediated speech communities. She is a citizen of the Métis Nation and a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation.
Youth Ambassador, Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation
Tessa is a member of the Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation and an eleventh grade student at DP Todd Secondary School in Prince George, BC. Tessa is also a graduate of the First Nations' Technology Council's "Bridging to Technology" program and runs a language project called Dak'elh K'una which is organizing the creation of a Dak'elh language app and immersion summer camp.
Senior Instructor, Pirurvik Centre
Amanda is a graduate of the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP) who started her career teaching in Apex, and later at Iqaluit's Joamie School. As the Executive Director for Tumikuluit Saipaaqivik, she led Iqaluit's only Inuktut immersion daycare. Amanda grew up in a rich Inuktut speaking and cultural environment in Panniqtuuq with her maternal grandparents. As well as teaching courses in the Pirurvik Centre's Inuktut Revitalization program for Inuit and Inuktut Second Langauge, Amanda assists with the design, writing and teaching of new programs and learning resources.
Director of Programs and Student Support, Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey
Blaire is the Director of Programs and Student Support at Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey. She comes from the Mi'kmaq district of Unama'ki and is a proud L'nu'skw and speaker. She strives to advance the educational opportunities and rights for the Mi'kmaq people. Blaire has continued to pursue new and innovating ways to infuse language and culture into the 21st century. She is part of an inspiring team of Mi'kmaq scholars and educators whose collective and individual contributions to Mi'kmaw education have created space for Mi'kmaq innovation in the education system.
Senior Advisor, Natural Resources Canada
Glenn is a Senior Advisor at Natural Resources Canada (formerly Indigenous Policy Manager, Aboriginal Peoples Program, Canadian Heritage). As former Executive Director of the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres in the 1990s, he managed the first online presence of a First Nations organization in Canada in 1992 using a bulletin board program and 3rd-party software. More recently, Glenn chaired the interdepartmental Indigenous Languages Translation/Technology Working Group involving Canadian Heritage, Library and Archives Canada, National Research Council of Canada, Parliamentary Translation Bureau and others. He has a longstanding interest in the revitalization of Indigenous languages. Currently, he is on one of NRCan's consultation teams working with BC First Nations on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. He successfully completed the first level of Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa's online Kanien'kehá:ka language program and is a member of the Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke.
Oral History and Language Lab Manager, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia
Gerry is a proud member of the Heiltsuk First Nation and manages the Oral History and Language Lab at the UBC Museum of Anthropology. With over 15 years in the field of Information Management and Heritage Digitization, he works to develop practical, scalable resources for Indigenous cultural heritage preservation, and to decolonize information practices. Gerry also acts as the Technology Lead for the innovative UBC Indigitization Program and sits on the Board of Directors for the First Peoples' Cultural Council.
Youth Ambassador, University of Alberta
Delaney is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Alberta majoring in Computer Science and Math. Since her early teens she has worked with her home community of Lac Ste. Anne documenting culture and history. She is working on an interdisciplinary project to develop a language learning system for the Y-dialect of Cree under the supervision of University of Alberta Computing Science professor Dr. Carrie Demmans Epp and University of Alberta Cree professor Dorothy Thunder.
Megan Lukaniec is Wendat from the Huron-Wendat Nation of Wendake, Québec and an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Language Revitalization in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Victoria. Since 2006, she has been working with and for her community in order to reawaken and reclaim the Wendat (Iroquoian) language, which was dormant for well over a century. Within the scope of a SSHRC CURA grant (2007-2012) awarded to the Huron-Wendat Nation and Université Laval, her role as a linguist included reconstructing the language from legacy documentation, training language teachers, teaching introductory language courses, and creating pedagogical materials. In 2017, with the collaboration of the CDFM Huron-Wendat, she created the initial designs of and reconstructed content for an online trilingual dictionary (Wendat-French-English; wendatlanguage.com). She obtained her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and for her dissertation work, she reconstructed and described the verb morphology of Wendat.
Associate Professor, University of Victoria
tânisi kiyawaw (greetings to you all). Onowa is maskékow-ininiw (a Swampy Cree person) and Scottish-Canadian, born and raised in Treaty 6 territory. She has been a grateful visitor in SENĆOŦEN and Lekwungen speaking territories for over twenty years and is an urban nêhiyâwiwin language learner and Indigenous language warrior. Onowa is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Education at University of Victoria, where she was the former Director of Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education. Onowa is co-lead on a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC) Partnership Grant entitled NEȾOLṈEW̱, which is working to build capacity among Indigenous people and maximize Indigenous language revitalization resources in Canada.
Language Team Lead, University nuhelot'įne thaiyots'į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills (UnBQ)
Marilyn is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and has worked in adult education for twenty-seven years, four years in small business and four years in Cree Immersion Head Start programming before devoting her time to Language revitalization for both Cree and Dene at UnBQ. While at UnBQ Marilyn has spearheaded the development of a Bachelor of Arts in Cree and Dene, a Masters in Indigenous Languages, an Elders Senate as well as Language Resource Department which produces audio, video and written resources in both Cree and Dene.
Director of the Yukon Native Language Centre
Tina is the Director of the Yukon Native Language Centre for the Council of Yukon First Nations. She is of Tlingit, Mountain Slavey and Cree ancestry and is a citizen of the Teslin Tlingit Council. Her Tlingit name is Skayda.û and she belongs to the Dakhlaweidí (Eagle) clan. Tina holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina and is a proud graduate of the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program. Her Master's Degree in Education for curriculum and instruction is from Simon Fraser University. She is a passionate advocate for Indigenous language revitalization and indigenized education.
Lecturer, Queens University
Nathan is an educator of Kanyen'kéha (Mohawk) with years of experience teaching both at the Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Centre (TTO) and at Queens University. Nathan has a strong interest in how computational methods can be applied to language revitalization and pedagogy and has been involved in the development of Indigenous Language and Mohawk Language and Culture certificates in partnership with TTO and Queens University.
Selected publications by the NRC team and our collaborators relating to research in Indigenous languages technology are listed below. Project-specific publications are listed on project pages.
Technologies for Indigenous languages
- A Summary of the First Workshop on Language Technology for Language Documentation and Revitalization
- The Indigenous Languages Technology project at NRC Canada: An empowerment-oriented approach to developing language software (Extended report)
- Using technology to help revitalize Indigenous languages
- Indigenous language technologies in Canada: Assessment, challenges, and successes.
- Towards a General-Purpose Linguistic Annotation Backend
- OCR evaluation tools for the 21st century
- Universal phone recognition with a multilingual allophone system
- AlloVera: A Multilingual Allophone Database
- Final Report of the Frederick Jelinek Memorial Summer Workshop on Neural Polysynthetic Language Modelling