Indigenous language initiatives - an incredible contribution opportunity for Duolingo
I think creating a branch to support Indigenous language initiatives would be an incredible contribution from Duolingo. I was impressed to see Navajo!
The Mi'kmaq language stretches over 5 Canadian Provinces and 1 American State, and is the only Indigenous Nation with Territory + communities in 3 of those Provinces. A Duolingo app would be an incredible consistent tool for schools and also help to employ fluent speakers in rural communities and/or urban settings.
Language extends beyond communication and organized components + vocabulary -- languages hold cultural world views, teachings, history, and contribute to positive mental health + connection in communities. Language is identity.
I wanted to put this out there, never know who could see it!
Welalioq for reading, Aiden
As I have a special interest in minority language preservation and revitalization, it would be an incredible to honor to have the tools to familiarize myself with a wider variety of indigenous languages.
As an aside, I believe I heard that once upon a time in Nova Scotia, one could find Mi'kmag speaking Scots and Gaelic-speaking Mi'kmaq folks.
I’m happy to hear about your interests on that— when Indigenous languages are supported, it revitalizes so much more than an ability to speak + read. World views and concepts within words teach us so much about ourselves and the land [among other things]. I’ll add a couple examples to your points about community language exchanges, for yourself and those who may be interested in what you mentioned. :)
When it comes to cross-cultural sharing between Mi’kmaq + Gaels, African Nova Scotians, and Acadians, this is definitely a topic I think about a lot. [Beothuk and] Mi’kmaq communities were first contact on the Eastern shore and have the longest history of Settler + Arrivant friendships [and quarrels].
In Acadian French, you'll find a lot of Mi'kmaw words, such as “matues” (porcupine).
For Mi’kmaw, I love the example of “Pusu’l Puna’ne” (Happy New Year): “Pusu’l” is Mi’kmaw for a concept of shaking hands to forgive and move forward, while “Puna’ne” is an adoption of “bonne année” (Happy New Year in French).
I should also mention that we didn’t have a New Year — some joke that we had 13! The calendar we follow(ed) to base our time on are the 13 annual moons, about 28 days each. These moons are named after what’s happening in nature during their time; rivers freezing moon, frogs chirping moon, berries ripening moon, etc. There are still folks who use this calendar system for sure, it’s just not the main one we use these days.
So, our months of the year are named to line up with these moons [as close as possible], to continue this knowledge into working within the Western calendar.
I’ll stop myself here haha, this is a great topic, thanks for your comment.
The Maori in New Zealand are also a strong example that myself and many Elders/artists/teachers/scholars I know look towards as inspiration for where we can go. Beyond language, there are other lively cultural initiatives, including traditional tattooing practices.
Adding reference info for yourself, or anyone reading my comments who want to learn more.
Here's a sweet article to check out on language:
If you're interested in learning more about tattooing, the show Skindigenous on APTN is great to check out. Season 1, episode 9 and Season 2, episodes 7+8.