September 12, 2013 by Krista Allen, NAVAJO TIMES
FLAGSTAFF, AZ - Nearly a year after launching the Navajo keyboard application for iOS devices, Native Innovation Inc. finally unveiled one for Android.
A number of individuals including Arizona State Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai on Aug. 30 gathered at the Native American Cultural Center on the Northern Arizona University campus, where cake and finger foods were served.
"Nizhónigo ch'aanid’’naal (Have a nice trip)," said Peshlakai as she read the list of "general Diné phrases" that are integrated into the new App. "Hait"éego ni[ hoolzhish? (How is it going?) ... Shil náhod’’lnih (Let me know)."
"We've been working on this for quite some time," said Jerome Tsosie, president of Native Innovations, an American Indian and veteran-owned network management company that serves the southwestern United States. "We (had many) people that helped us, and one of the main contributors was (Florian T. Johnson)."
The free App allows users to directly type in Diné bizaad, eliminating the frustration that users had with the default Android keyboard.
"We want to target the smartphone demographic," said Kialo Winters, the education technology specialist for the company. "The whole demographic from youth to elders are almost carrying smartphones now. It'll just get even more throughout the next couple of generations, and it's bringing back in the home through that medium of mobile technology."
Language and culture preservation among cultures around the world have continuously adapted to this new technology reaching deep into diverse demographics including education, according to the company.
In fact, several schools on the Navajo Nation are inquiring into preserving language and culture. For instance, Rough Rock Community School has implemented the Immersion program where Diné language is the primary communication between instructor-learner and cultural concepts related to classroom subjects.
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