Below is a guide for the use of technology in promoting and encouraging the daily use of Indigenous languages through the use of downloadable language keywords, making it easy to type and develop documentation in their Indigenous language.
First Peoples’ Cultural Council
Suggested Use & Distribution
This guide is helpful for government, cultural & community organizations, as well as community members who would like to incorporate Indigenous language writing into their everyday technology use.
Many First Nations languages require a number of characters that are not available on the standard English keyboard, but these letters do have standard unicode values.
Unicode is a universal cataloguing system by which computers consistantly organize all of the different letters and characters of the world’s writing systems. To accommodate the extra letters, some of the standard keys have been given new values, or modified so that they also function as accent keys.
To type these characters, you must install a keyboard driver (a program which reorganizes how your physical keyboard works – as well as a good unicode font).
For some Unicode characters to appear at all, you must be using Windows XP or Mac 10.2 or higher. Earlier PC and Mac operating systems do not support unicode technology sufficiently. Even if you are using a recent operating system, not all of your applications will necessarily be unicode compliant.
To download computer keyboards for your language, go to FirstVoices.com and select the language you want from the drop-down menu. Go to the welcome page for that language to find the right keyboard.
To access other keyboards not available at FirstVoices, visit Languagegeek.com.
Now Available for iOS (Apple) and Android Mobile Devices:
Download Now: iOS | Android
Released: May 16, 2016
The latest ground-breaking FirstVoices innovation from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council is an Indigenous language keyboard app for Apple and Android mobile devices.
The FirstVoices Keyboard App contains keyboard software for over 100 languages, and includes every First Nations language in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, plus many languages in the USA.
When the FirstVoices Keyboard app is installed on a mobile phone or tablet, any one of the 100+ custom keyboards can be activated in any application on the device. Users are able to select their keyboard(s) of choice within their email, social media, word processing or other apps, enabling unlimited communication in their mother language.
Indigitization is a collaborative project between the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC), the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) and three First Nations communities: Heiltsuk, Ktunaxa, and ‘Namgis. The Indigitization Toolkit is is a great resource with a series of templates that B.C. First Nations communities can use when undertaking digitization projects. Click here to access the toolkit.