Ditidaht Kids video game takes players on cultural journey as a new tool for language revitalization.
Indigenous technologies grow from all aspects of life and rely on skill, creative thinking and a deep understanding of our environment. FPCC is celebrating the launch of Ditidaht Kids, a video game released by the Ditidaht First Nation that takes players on a cultural journey through ditidaqiic̓aq disib̓aʔk (Ditidaht territory) while teaching ditidaqiic̓aq cicqiʔ (the Ditidaht language). The game is designed for yayaadqiy (children), ages 3-6, to play on a tablet as an immersive experience and is available for free on the app store.
“Our culture is stored in language and our work to save our language is gaining momentum,” says Debbie Jeffrey, voice actor, speaker and singer featured in Ditidaht Kids. “This game is part of that work.”
Funded through FPCC’s FirstVoices program which is now part of the Language Technology Program currently accepting applications, Ditidaht Kids was created by the Ditidaht Community School Language Department (DCS) in collaboration with fluent ʔiʔiič̓ib (Elders), Knowledge Holders, singers, historians, teachers, parents and yayaadqiy (children).
“It’s important to keep our language and culture alive,” continued Debbie. “Utilizing technology is definitely beneficial as this is where our kids are going today.”
Players are taken on a journey by č̓apac (canoe) through ditidaqiic̓aq disib̓aʔk (Ditidaht territory) and learn language through duuks (songs), haawic̓qšey̓ks (stories, legends), and traditional teachings. “It gives them exposure to important words, songs, and stories,” said Crystal Watts, community member, parent and daycare director. “But more importantly, it allows them the chance to learn about the rich landscape that is their traditional territory.”
The game is an important tool that creates opportunities to merge cultural roots with modern technology to support language revitalization efforts. There are illustrated scenes immersing players in traditional ways of life, such as hanging haʔub (fish) in the the muukʷaawis (smokehouse). “[Smoking fish] was and still is a huge part of our culture,” said Tina Joseph, Ditidaht Kids research and production manager in an article featured in the Star newspaper. “It sustains us and nourishes us.”
Ditidaht Kids is free and available for anyone to download. While the game is designed for yayaadqiy (children), it is available for anyone, including Ditidaht community members of all ages living both on and off-reserve, to access the knowledge held by the ʔiʔiič̓ib (Elders). Since its release on September 23, there have been over 350 downloads of the game.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the funding support FPCC provided,” says David Mason, Programs Coordinator of the Ditidaht Language Department. “We’re very grateful that you took the chance on us. ƛ̓eeko!”
FPCC raises our hands to the Ditidaht First Nation, the Ditidaht Community School Language Department and all those involved in creating and utilizing the Ditidaht Kids game. Your work is creating useable and accessible language revitalization tools and resources to strengthen future generations’ connection to their language.
FirstVoices Coordinator Kyra Borland was recently interviewed for an article about this project and you can read more here.
Apply for Funding
The Language Technology Program (LTP) is now open and accepting applications until January 17, 2022. LTP combines funding from the FirstVoices Program and Digitization Grant Initiative with funding of up to $180,000.
To view all current FPCC funding opportunities please visit our Grants page.
Quotes Provided by
“Ditidaht releases a video game to encourage language revitalization” Melissa Renwick, Ha-Shilth-Sa/The Star article here.
“Ditidaht Community School announces launch of Ditidaht Kids App” press release.
Ditidaht Kids is available for free from the Appstore: Ditidaht Kids
diiɁdiitidq words provided by the diiɁdiitidq FirstVoices community site.
For more information and resources about Ditidaht Kids, visit https://www.learnditidaht.ca/video-game/
Connect with Us
To receive FPCC news and funding announcements, please sign up for our email list here.