Alex Campbell, Velna Nelson, Beatrice Robinson and Ellen Mason take part in the Sm’algyax Word App and website launched by School District 52 on March 1. (Photo: Supplied by Roberta Edzera)

Alex Campbell, Velna Nelson, Beatrice Robinson and Ellen Mason take part in the Sm’algyax Word App and website launched by School District 52 on March 1. (Photo: Supplied by Roberta Edzera)

Prince Rupert SD 52 launches new Sm’algyax word app and website

Database for new language resources stems back more than 30 years

The launch of two new Ts’msyen and Sm’algyax language resources was celebrated by more than 47 attendees at the March 1 online presentation hosted by School District 52 Indigenous Education Department.

The launch introduced the FirstVoices Ts’msyen Sm’algyax word app and website which will aid in the teaching and learning of the traditional language.

“We’ve had our Sm’algyax in the district for over 25 years, but the language and the communities have been, as you know, a lot longer than that,” Roberta Edzera, district principal of Indigenous Education for SD 52, said.

The language resources are a result of the partnership between Ts’msyen Sm’algyax Language Authority, First Peoples Cultural Foundation, and SD 52 who have worked cumulatively over the past few years to produce the education platforms, Edzera said.

“Our language department for SD 52, along with our Ts’msyen Sm’algyax language authority have been working in partnerships for many years developing, archiving, recording, editing the Sm’algyax language to archive and (make available) for learners in our school district and the community, she said.

The work on compiling the database started from a long-line of knowledge holders stemming back more than 30 years. More recently the 20 member plus team has included linguists, language coordinators, knowledge holders, technicians, data-entry, as well as the team at FirstVoices.

Edzera said SD 52 reached out to First Voices, who have been developing a site for other indigenous languages which are also soon to be online.

The FirstVoices website described itself as being a suite of web-based tools and services designed to support Indigenous people engaged in language archiving, language teaching, and culture revitalization.

Daniel Yona from FirstVoices said that since 2018 more than 100,000 data entries of words, phrases, audio recordings, and videos have been entered to preserve the language

“It’s one of the largest dictionaries on FirstVoices now with more than 10,000 words and phrases,” Yona said. “We are really honored to have the Sm’algyax language be a part of the platform. It’s a great representation of the work that Ty’msen knowledge holders have put in over the years, both reflected in the online site and the app.”


 
K-J Millar | Journalist 
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