>>CORNELIUS: Good morning. And thank you
for joining us. My name is Craig Cornelius. I’m a member of the International Engineering
Group. And I’m pleased to introduce you to several members of the Cherokee Nation. About
almost two years ago, I had a chance meeting with a member of the Cherokee Nation taking
him to a camp. And I mentioned that I was at Google. He mentioned that, “Oh, we have
people in our company who’d like to make connections with Google because we’ve been doing a lot
with trying to preserve our language and we’d love to have Google help us work on Google’s
tools for the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee language.” That led to a collaboration over
the last year and a half. We have, as of March of this year, a version of Google Web Search
in the Cherokee language and I think you’ll learn an awful lot about the tech–the way
the Cherokee Nation has used technology. We have three visitors today, Joseph Erb, Roy
Boney and Jeff Edwards, and they will tell you a lot about how the Cherokee Nation is
using technology to keep their culture alive and vibrant for centuries to come.
>>ERB: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] people of Google, hello. Oh, you can’t hear me? Okay.
I’ll squeeze closer. Maybe my volume? Yeah. Or no? Is that better?
>>ERB: All right. [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] Joseph Erb [INDISTINCT] Joseph is what they
call me, I guess you say it. We’re from the Cherokee Nation. We are a new department.
Even though–we’ll talk a little bit, a quick, brief summary of the history and then what
we’ve done with technology in the last few years. And I think it’ll be interesting because
it will show you a different side of take of technology and the cultures and communities
that went from having different types–stages of technology. So, you’ll see that Cherokee
people have actually embraced technology for hundreds of years. And so we’ll start that
with some of our slides here and then we’ll get into some of the advancements we’ve made
with Google and how it’s important for us to actually continue as a people to address
these technology needs because of what occurs with language loss and cultural loss if you
don’t–if you don’t localize like your communities and your language so [INDISTINCT]
>>BONEY: Hello. My name is Roy and, you know, Joseph was saying we’re new to the department
and we’re the Language Technology Program at Cherokee Nation. And what we do basically
is we find that technology solutions for our language and, you know, we have a unique written
language which we’ll talk about here. This first slide is an image of the historical
boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. You can see it’s got the outline, the blue, the red
and the green that shows how it shrunk over the years as the westward expansion occurred,
you know, in United States history. So, that’s a map showing that. So, what happened is,
you know, the Cherokees, we were in the first groups that actually made a lot of a–we made
treaties with England and all this. We were one of the earliest documented traveled nations
in the United States because we had this back and forth relationship. This image here is
an image of–they called it the three kings. These were three Cherokee ambassadors that
were sent to England to negotiate some terms with the king at the time. When we show this,
they show the–you know, the Cherokee Nation has been around quite some time even before
the United States itself and the–we’ve always been, you know, educated people and we always
try to keep ahead of, you know, what’s going on. And this is Sequoyah. Sequoyah is significant
in Cherokee history because he’s the one that created the written language of the Cherokees.
We’ve had the spoken language but we did not have the written form, so he created a syllabary
and the sample of that is right below of the title that Sequoyah in Cherokee. So, Sequoyah
came up with the handwriting system of Cherokee Syllabary in the 18th. But he was–he’d been
working on it, like, in the mid-eighteens but he had several problems. You know, at
the time people weren’t accepting of it. They thought, you know, it was a lofty pursuit
and maybe it wouldn’t happen or it shouldn’t happen for various reasons. But around 1820,
he had finally finalized an idea of what it would be and he simplified the–he didn’t
simplify it but he broke down the entire language into 85 characters. So, this image here shows
the original handwritten syllabary by Sequoyah and you can see there is the two versions
here. You can see the first part, one looks like a cursive writing and next to it, you
see like this, first, I’m thinking, a little R next to it kind of. That’s showing how it’s
a hand–in cursive to the typeface and we’ll talk a bit more about that in a second. But
this chart shows a comparison of the two. This was adapted by the Cherokee Nation Council
in 1821. So, what happened is during this time of history, we had the–we call it the
removal era in which the United States adopted the policy of removing the Indians from the
east and moving them toward the west. So, what was going on is the Cherokee Nation needed
to come back to this idea somehow. So, the writing system was part of that. And so, we
adopted, you know, the handwritten version as Sequoyah did. As you can see here, there’s
the cursive. They simplified to that–to the middle typeface. So, we established a printing
press in the 1820s. There’s an image of one of the presses. That’s actually in Tahlequah,
Oklahoma now, that’s where the Cherokee Nation is based now. You can come through the museum
and see the printing press there. There are some images of the metal type. So if you deal
with a lot of type, you know how tiny those things are. Below is an image of the typeface
taken from the original press itself. You can see it was greatly modified from the handwritten
to this as is, you know, the nature of that adaptation. And so, this is the typeface that
we wound up with. We’ve had the same typeface since the 1820s until recently when the–we
still, this is base model but we’re just now getting to the point where we can do sans
serif typefaces and that type of thing with the Cherokee language. This image here is
the–actually, the first instance of a Cherokee in print. You can see it. Right there is the
first few verses of the book of Genesis from the Bible. This is printed in 1827. And so,
a couple of months later, where is the close up of it? The printing press was established
with the relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the American Board Of Foreign Missionaries
and what they were, you know, the goal it was to, you know, be missionaries to the Cherokee
Nation. But in part of that process, they helped develop the printing press. And the
Cherokee Nation contracted with a foundry in Boston called the Grille Foundry that actually
made the typeface letters themselves. But this is the first time it was ever printed.
It was in a newsletter to their supporters in the 1800s or 1827. And this here is the
result of all that. The Cherokee Nation wanted to print a newspaper. So this is the Cherokee
Phoenix, and that was–the first issue was printed in 1828. This isn’t the first issue
but they all look like this pretty much. It’s printed in English and in Cherokee. And at
the time, you know, this was a very–it was the first Native American language newspaper
ever printed and it’s still printed today. But it was used to–as kind of like a, like
I said, a PR piece to inform everyone including the Cherokees and everyone else in the United
States of what was happening with the removal policy. You know, Washington wanted to remove
the Cherokees and other tribes from their homelands. So, the interesting thing about
it is that not only did it circulate here in the continental US, it also made its way
to Europe at the time and that created a very–an awareness of our language in Europe. So our
language itself, the written version has been like, studied ever since. People have always
had a fascination with it. Yeah, it’s a rare accomplishment for a single person to come
with a writing system, so Sequoyah has become sort of like a big hero, you know, mythological
figure almost. But we’ll get back to this point a bit later before I–that’s important
to us. But we’ll–I guess we go through a little bit.
>>ERB: So, this is–what’s exciting is that even though we weren’t successful in keeping
our land and we were shoved out by the United States but during–we won in the Supreme Court
but people don’t realize that the United States Supreme Court say we didn’t have to move,
but Andrew Jackson did. So, we ended up getting moved. And this is a shot–we produced a film
a few years back and this is a little screen shot of it in front of a map and it shows
you where we ended up today. After the removal, it was one of the first things is we did the
printing press. And what was needed is that we rebuilt our society and one of the things
we started with is education. And in education, we educated men and women which was unusual
at the time because if, you know, we think of equal rights and–can you imagine in the
1800s, Cherokees paid women the same as men. We educated all the women and men from 6 years
old to 21. We had 61 schools and two universities. And this is one of the most leading cutting
edges, you know, education systems in the world because we educated the entire population
for free. So, we had printing presses back then. We made books, materials, some religious,
some academic. So, all this occurred and technology are still advanced. Cherokees were the first
to have a telephone west of the Mississippi. So, we were actually technologically were
more advanced and you think, well, what would make people still advance like this even though
we were 80% to 90% literate compared to the 13% of whites at the time? Why would you want
to care about this new technology that came out? Why were we an earlier adopter? So people
came in, salesmen, like they do it still today at Cherokee Nation and they got these two
guys that would test the technology. They ran a cord. And these guys had a conversation.
And they tried to discuss, well, are they going to get it? The reason they did is that
this one statement is if they wanted to get it, would they? This is the reason they got
it. Talks in Cherokee. If you can use the technology in your language, it’s your technology.
It’s not a white technology. It’s not, you know, a German technology or Korean technology.
It’s your technology when your language is utilized in it. So we had the first telephones.
And this guy, I don’t know if you guys know who Will Rogers is, but he was a mixed blood
Cherokee. And his technology was the radio. And he was a satirist which, if you know anything
about Cherokee, we’re–we like to laugh a lot. And he made a lot of jokes and teased
about political stuff. He was like a lot of comedians today joking about politics and
all and he brought a lot of awareness of Cherokee people back then. And so, he also used technology
for us and that was really early on. He bought radios for Cherokee schools and stuff, so
that they’d be aware. Again, adopting the latest technology before other people. Here.
>>As you can see here, this is a typewriter and it just kind of shows that, you know,
throughout history, the Cherokees have continued to keep up with technology. I believe this
one is around 1970.>>Yeah. That was [INDISTINCT]
>>Little earlier than that. And so, just throughout history, they’ve continued to keep
on top of technology. And that’s a really neat piece to see there. And that’s just a
document that was typed up on a typewriter, I guess, in March of 1917. I mean, is this
you?>>I mean, the typewriter.
>>Oh, and this is just kind of more of the paper going over to Europe and it kind of
preserved our language by going over there because it kept it documented and kept it
alive so.>>BONEY: Like I mentioned [INDISTINCT] we
bring this up because, you know, it created–the paper making its way to Europe created an
awareness of our language, you know, internationally and that’s held through ever since. And this
slide here is taken from, you know, the type of [INDISTINCT], if you deal with a lot of
fonts, unless you know who this guy is. But he was working on a Cherokees font back in
the ’70s. Unfortunately, this font never quite made it out but this is an example of how,
you know, people have always been interested in Cherokees language. And it helped us out
a lot. What happened is this here is one of the first Cherokees fonts designed by actual
Cherokee speakers. This is from around 1991-92. Again, you can see it’s based on the old typeface.
It’s slightly modified but it’s got the basic elements of it there. The–in this particular
slide, it’s showing this is a–by Joan Touset or Touset, I suppose. So she was a student
at Yale and she got a grant to make a Cherokee typeface of fonts and this is what she came
up with. And this model is based on that earlier chart we showed you. And Cherokees Nation
uses as a model for the font that we had for–around 2000, the Cherokee Nation came out with this
own font. And this is what it looked like. And, you know, it was good in the sense that
we had a Cherokee font that at least we could type up documents and we–it was like a fancy
typewriter at the time, we just could type in and print it. It’s all we could do. It
was not Unicode compliant because it was mapped to English characters on, like, the keyboard.
So, it looks Cherokee but technically it’s not. And that, you know, if we wanted to use
technology other than just, you know, printing stuff out, we were still just kind of stuck
in the air until we came up with Unicode. But this is an image of the Cherokee Nation
Headquarters in Tahlequah. This–we don’t actually work in that building; we’re housed
elsewhere but that’s where we used to be. But, yeah, you want to switch? Okay.
>>And 2003, the Cherokee Nation did a language survey of our language and they found that
less than 10% of people under the age of 40 were font. So, we kind of went back in history
again where we educated everyone. We started at school [INDISTINCT] is the name. That’s
a Cherokee school. And we currently have around 90 students three and four year old, all the
way up to sixth grade. And our students all have one-to-one Mac laptops and our language
is supported on Mac. And unfortunately, with having a Cherokee school there, you can’t
just go to the store and buy Cherokee materials. So everything has to be made in-house. So
we really had to get busy pretty quick. We wanted our students at the school to basically
have everything that a, you know, an English school would have. So we just started getting
with our translators and creating this stuff. And so we’re trying to give them everything
that you would have at an English school, except in Cherokee. This is an older–about
sixth grade document right there. That’s the digestive system and it’s kind of gross looking
but they need to learn it, I guess. And so we had a lot of fun making this stuff because,
you know, it’s never been made before and so. And of course, we have the solar system
and we know the planets they’re at. And of course, there’s the United States. Again,
all this stuff, we just have to make and when we adopted Unicode, it made it a lot easier
to make this stuff because someone could work on it and we could send it to someone else
and they could work on it. Before, it didn’t really work that way so. And this is just
one of our students before we had computers at the school. You know, they’ve got the old
pencil and paper, and it’s taken a really long time. And now that they have their computers,
it’s a lot, you know, a lot better process. And what we’re going to show you here is a
little animation that we made. We’re competing with Spongebob and Dora The Explorer and all
this stuff in English and so we had to try to figure out ways to, you know, keeps the
kids engaged and keep them in the language because once the kids leave our school, not
very many of the parents are fluent and so once they leave school they go back into an
English world and so what we’re trying to do is create stuff for them outside of school
to keep them, you know, in Cherokee thoughts. So this a little animation we made for them.
[VIDEO CLIP] All right, don’t blow your ears out too bad on that. And this is the Cherokee
Nation Non-Unicode font. This has been around, I’m not really for sure how long, I guess
90s? Yeah, ’99-2000 and this was our first font that we actually had where we were able
to type. It served a purpose because, you know, our language we could use it on a computer
but like Roy said before it was more or less type it up and print it out, you couldn’t
really do anything else with it. And as you can see there, I don’t know if you can see
it really well there, there’s all the code points for the Unicode.
>>[INDISTINCT]>>Oh, English I’m sorry for the English on
there. I don’t know if you can see that very well. And then that’s our layout, our keyboard
layout and we’ll show you a little bit later the one that we created but that’s basically
how to get a Cherokee–if you had the old Non-Unicode font installed, if you do the
lower case and the upper case and hit that key then you’re going to get that particular
character so, learning Cherokee before Unicode was–it was pretty difficult because you had
to remember where 85 characters were and which, you know, when you had to hit shift and when
you had to hit a Nine to get that character so it was–it was pretty complicated if you
work with it a really long time then, you know, obviously you would memorize it but
typing was pretty painful during this time. All right.
>>Okay. You know we keep talking about Unicode just because of the importance of what it
did for our language of–yeah all that material that Jeff showed at first was created with
that old font that wasn’t Unicode, so as I said again we were–we were stuck but just,
you know, making something, printing it out and having a poster or paper. And we wanted
to move beyond that and the reason that we introduced the Macs in the school so instead
of, you know, on that OS10, I think 10.3 they started supporting a Cherokee Unicode font
and keyboard on the system so that–keyboard layout that was just up, that was, put in
to their Apple LS, the shift keys but there was also another keyboard layout that did
the phonetic typing so, if you knew how to spell like, just say it, you could type it
out and it would switch the syllabar for you just like kind of how a Japanese does, that
type of thing. What we had in Cherokee, and I said the reason it happened was because
the Unicode, the Cherokee was adopted glyphs for assigned code points, I guess around 1995
of the Cherokee Nation made an application to the group and that went through the whole
process and that’s when–and we eventually got pulled into the system and because of
that we can move on to this. So this shot here is our images–a screenshot of one of
the fonts, we’ll this is [INDISTINCT] in Cherokee but you can see this in the Unicode point
range for Cherokee it starts with the–it looks like the “D” character after that first
row, that’s the “Ah” in Cherokee it’ where it starts and goes all the way down to the,
the “B” which is the “Yuh.” It looks like a B but it’s not. So Cherokee does have its
own unique code point range in the Unicode tables. So what happened is, you know, I said
in 2003 Apple started supporting it but it took a while to trickle down to the communities
because we had that one font for the longest time and everyone that used it, you know,
a lot of our people that use it are older and they don’t quite understand in technical
ideas you want–what this means so we said, don’t use that font anymore, use a Unicode
font, and yeah, most of people like go what does that even mean? You know, they kind of–they
glaze over. But this group here, the Indigenous Language Institute, there’s a man named Chris
Harvey that works for them and Chris had developed one of the first keyboard layouts for the
Cherokee language that followed that phonetic typing system. And there’s his website, it’s
languagegeeks.com, he’s got a lot of fonts for other native languages as well, they’re
all Unicode if you’re interested in that, you can go to his website and download the
stuff. He makes keyboards as well, so we’ve used his materials quite a lot ever since
he’s been doing this. But like I said, Apple supported the language on the desktops or
the computer OS here. so you can see–these are some of our students at the school using
their laptops, they can do everything in the language they do all their homework in Cherokee
now, they have blogs and wikis and emails and everything else that you can do in English,
they can do in Cherokee now. It’s because the school itself is–everything is taught
in Cherokee from history, legacy, it’s shown on the maps as long as everything is in the
language so they needed a way to use the language in Cherokee in the modern context because,
you know, the kids started off at a pre-k and every year we keep adding a grade to the
school. We’re currently up to the 6th grade but when we started doing this they were in
the second or third–I think in third grade and they needed technology in the room, you
know, they were getting older and they keep up with what the kids need today and they
got to have this, so that’s why we introduced this to them at that time, so there they are
doing their more homework there. And now it’s–I was like this picture because it shows you
this a little girl, you know, who is using the technology and she was like sitting and
yeah she enjoys having her computer. You know, if there’s a problem with it we’re the first
ones to know, she’ll tell us. Hey is there something wrong with this thing? Would–I
guess when the teacher’s working with the students of–some more shots there. So they
really like this stuff and so they got–it hit them where they live basically you know,
before this, a computer to them was just another machine they can do stuff on but now it wasn’t
really Cherokee friendly because you know, using a font that’s not UNICODE you know,
has lots of problems. If you tried to email something, you know, it’s going to get all
gobbledygook; it’s not going to quite work right. You couldn’t use it in the website
unless you made an image out of–you know, they have all these problems, if you try to
embed the font, it’s just you know, not very optimal until we started using UNICODE. But
the great thing about all this is you know we had the Cherokee Immersion School in Tahlequah,
Oklahoma, there’s also a–we talked about how the Cherokees were moved from the East
to Oklahoma, there were some Cherokees that stayed in the East, so in Cherokee North Carolina,
there’s the eastern band of Cherokees, that’s a separate tribal group. We’re kind of related
but that’s a technically different government system now versus ours. But they have a Cherokee
Language Immersion School as well. So this slide here, is a little video that we’re going
to play. We have video chats between the two schools now, so the kids–you know at our
school they’re the ones in the little corner there, get really excited because they get
to see there’s other children out there too learning this language, yeah, because the
Cherokee like many indigenous languages is in danger of dying out, so this is all in
an effort to you know, perpetuate the language. It said–this clip is just between the two
schools, we’re interacting and we’ll play a little part of
it there. They’re teaching each other songs.
You get the idea they enjoy using this stuff and we had to move to this which–yeah, we
had to hit them even harder where they live. We’ll let Jess take over that.
>>JESS: So last year it’s just about a year now, we are officially on the iPhone and so
you can imagine the technology advantage that we had, because these kids were actually getting
the toy where they were going to start texting and doing all the stuff normal kids do, but
they would give up Cherokee to text their friends of course because you’re going to
text your friends, your cousins, all that. Our kids didn’t have to give up their language
skill, they could still text each other in Cherokee and they were so excited, they were
beaming to have this day occur. And it gave us the ability for contacts and folders and
all this stuff, and recently we’re able to do some–some–we got in the CLDR, you know
it’s really weird it’s great to talk to you guys because a lot of times we talk about
UNICODE and stuff back home, people just want to see the surface area and we have to go
to these kind of–it’s probably like when you go home and talk to your family in the
holidays and you’re like trying to get glaze over UNICODE or programming what? I–so we
were so excited to come and talk to you guys, because these are texts, I–we have elders
texting us. We didn’t realize that actually elders would pick-up devices in an Indian
community and start texting us. So we’ll have people in their ’70s like–they’re like, “Ha!”
and they’re texting when you’re busy, you know, you work pretty hard and all of a sudden
you’re getting a text from a 70 year old person you have to respond to. They’re an elder speaker
and in our culture you have to respond, so you can see us–actually this is when we were
translating the Google search engine and these guys were texting other speakers to see if
the translations for these new terminologies–if the other groups liked them, so they were
using their iPhones to actually [INDISTINCT] because we were translating the search engine
and we were sitting around in front of this–in my office here, texting other speakers too
and there was a big discussion in Cherokee about this word and the meaning of this and
concepts. And we made digital books in the language, so we still–our printing in a way
for digital devices. And this is Andy Payne, he ran from LA to New York. It was a trans
continental race and Andy Payne, well he was a Cherokee guy, he won this–this 83 year–83
day race, it was a world wide race, at that time in the–it was $25,000 dollars which
was a lot money, and he won the race and, you know later he did–became a lawyer or
something but we were proud of that runner. And Andy Payne is taught about a bunch of
these traditional stories, Roy did the illustration here and we can see this kids using the technology
isn’t something they think about just like families don’t care about code, and all the
achievements you do. What they really care about is how it works and they can get on
there and chat with their friends, iChat, read books, hear sounds, watch animations.
But we got–made some friends, contacted Facebook and we started doing Facebook in Cherokee.
So if you could imagine, usually when you’re from a dominant language group or even a larger
group, localization is something that you don’t really have to be concerned about to
the degree, when you’re such a small group, because everyday when you’re walking out of
a building, when you’re walking down the street, it reinforces your reading skills, because
you’re seeing stuff in your language all the time. Well finally we have our written language
coming back, our literacy skills coming back because you can do stuff on Facebook, this
is a conversation I posted up here, it was a snow day and I took off work and then [INDISTINCT]
he’s one of our–actually he’s a living treasure now.
>>Well, finally we have our written language coming back. Our literacy skills coming back
because we can do stuff on Facebook. This is a conversation I posted up here. It was
a slow data and I took off work and then Durbin Feeling is one of our–actually, he’s living
treasure now. He wrote the 1975 Dictionary–asked me how did I do that and I said, “Well, I
got an email from the chief.” And he’s like, “Oh, hello,” and we ended up having a conversation.
But this stuff’s possible because the technology is starting to be there because of the localization.
Some other people in our community–this is Law Daze, a friend of ours. Wikipedia, you
know, we’re starting to get more and more articles in Cherokee. We’re not a lot yet,
but, you know, if you think about it, a year and having devices most of our community have
to be online with mobile devices. Internet, as far as–we’re from a very poor rural community
and so a lot of people have to get online with their cell phones and so we think we’re
growing pretty, pretty good at this point. If you could imagine, this is a huge achievement
for us. If you think about, well, a third grader, writing a blog, it happens all around
the world. But it finally happens in Cherokee and we were so excited that our language is
being used by our children, which hadn’t happened, you know. We grew up. We were the first generation.
[INDISTINCT] You know, there were a lot of traumatic events from boarding schools and
horrible things from statehood that occurred. They are our grandparents and parents that
caused them to think that it’s not important for us and then we came back and grew up and
thought it is important. This is something we need to do. And having little girls and
little boys write blogs online is a giant achievement for us.
>>I guess that we probably recognized this page. This is the newest language settings
in Google. This just came out in March. I’m working with Craig in the Cherokee Nation.
We finally got, you know, Cherokee is one of the interfaces language in the Google search
engine. So there it is. There it is in the list there if you want to go there and switch
your language out. There’s a shot of a homepage there and you can see, you know, we have the
keyboard too on there, so everything works in Cherokee. In this keyboard layout, it follows
that one that we showed earlier, you know, from the old Cherokee Nation font. So then
you can hit your shift key and it does that–it follows that same pattern in there. What I
think is really great that this is out there especially people back home they can do website
and stuff, you know. They can take the code there and put that into the website. I think
that’s a pretty cool thing. But those are just the other day, you know, it shows that
we still–we use Google everyday and then, you know, we had the Art Clokey birthday celebration
the other day. We’re not computer people. If anyone knows us, we’re artist. We have
our Degrees in Art. We just got into technology because of the needs that we were working
in the language, but–so see, we used to do stop motion animation with kids and they do
the stories in the Cherokee language. So when I’ve seen this, I’m like, “That’s really cool.”
You know, Google decided to celebrate, you know, the birthday of Art Clokey, the creator
of Gumby. But, you know, it’s in the Cherokee language. You can see all the buttons in Cherokee
in the interface and that’s–it shows how far we’ve come along as a people and a group
with our language. And here’s the sample of doing an image search, you know, of a cat.
You know, you have everything works in that Cherokee there. So it’s pretty neat. We’re
really fortunate that this occurred in the video search. So there are several videos
popping up on Youtube now, you know, in Cherokee and, you know, they’re titled in Cherokee.
And again, because of the Unicode this is happening. Now, for us, you know, a lot of
people would take it for granted, you know, but we’re really happy that we got into the
Unicode code point system there. This is just the other day too. This is a Google Maps in
Cherokee that you can label. You can create your own maps there. So, you know, this technology
is being used and is actively being used. And that not only do our kids use it, the
idea was to get children to use this technology. What happened was they are using it but the
older generation using it too because typically, you know, the older people are kind of stereotyped
and say, “We’re not going to use this,” or, you know, they’re scared of it but they latched
on to technology because it happens in the Cherokee language. So if you need to get products
and devices and things that are actually in Cherokee, [INDISTINCT] adapts that really
quickly. Even like the iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch and everything, when people seen that
was a part of the OS and that it was just on it, you know, a lot of people thought it
was an app. They’re like, “Hey, where can I get that Cherokee app and what–” it’s like,
“No, it’s actually on the OS.” If you have 4.1 higher is when it started. So if you have,
you know, you can go to store now and buy one of these devices, Cherokee is on it and
that people–yeah, at first it took a while for grasp the idea. When they got it, it was
really–there’s a huge impact that it had on our language. So this year is an image
of–I think it’s a Droid 2 there. So we’re hoping maybe we can get some help from this
hearing from you guys. And, you know, since it doesn’t have Cherokee font in the system
which has–the square is there but as many of you know, you can rip your device which
is what I did hear so I rooted a phone here and I put a Cherokee font unto it. But it
would be great, you know, if we actually have Cherokee on the device or the OS itself without
having to do this process because I get a lot of people now around, you know, back in
Telecall asking me if I can–because a lot of people use Droids and there’s–it’s very
popular and it’s even surpassing, you know, the iPhone we’re at because, you know, people
really like it. So we’d like to be on both but I am always doing request now. And there
is a Xoom tablet I had to root. So people really want it but at this point, you know,
that’s–most people in our community don’t have the savvy to do this. It’s kind of, you
know, really technical searching for someone that just doesn’t know everything about how
this stuff is and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to go through this whole process.” And
you’re going to root it and do this, but in this show, it’s possible.
>>All right. So this is our paper. Our paper is still going today. There’s an app for that
actually. You can see that we’re still using our language online. We’re still–we’re still
going. We’re still around. You know, people always want to, “Are you still alive?” And
we do have a live culture. The reason we do all this stuff is so that we can, you know,
we started teaching at the university just so that we could teach the Cherokee to Greek
community because we are opening at five more emerging school soon and we need teachers
for them. We’re educating the next generation of teachers and we wanted them technologically
savvy so that they can talk about Unicode. They can install keyboards. They all know
how to root. They can actually get the community by so there isn’t a small group of us. There’s
teams of us in our community. And this is an article. It’s in Cherokee. And then if
you don’t read them, you can click on the English button and see that on Cherokee Phoenix
and read it in English as well. But we do, you know, we do all this technology stuff
because we have a culture, a language. We have children that–statistics show that if
they know their culture and language they get out–they stay out of trouble. They’re
healthier. They’re less prone to diabetes and all the horrible stuff that occur. You
need this kind of stuff to keep people happy and healthy people and these are our children.
You can see we’re teaching them dances, traditional foods, but we’re able to do a lot of this
stuff if all you do is ceremonies in the language. You don’t do it all the time and you eventually
won’t know what your prayer say. You won’t know what your culture is doing. You won’t
remember–you may remember just the few things, but if you’re getting a text every day in
Cherokee constantly from all these people and emails and blogs and you’re reading stuff
on Facebook in Cherokee, your language survives. Your people survive. And Google has been a
part of this process for us. You can Google search, you know. Last year, we talked in
Tsalagi, in our language. There’s a little under 50,000 which is great, you know. We’re
a small group. Now, there’s a million and a half in one year and still limited access
in devices that we’re still going. So we are growing despite everything. We’re like starting
to take off with our language digitally and so this is a renaissance for us. These children,
they’re all our youngest speakers. If you could imagine, they speak very good Cherokee.
They don’t have an accent like us. It’s very smooth and we appreciate you. Wa do. And this
is “Wa do” in Cherokee. Thank you. We have one more, right? It’s our contact information.
If you guys ever want to contact us. This is kind of our–the technology was changing
so fast. We couldn’t like–eventually what happened in the last hundred years, if someone
come along and they’d work on a typewriter and things wouldn’t change that much. And
now, technology is changing so fast. Cherokee Nation actually has a division that addresses
that and we are the small but growing division that deals with the localization and all the
different needs that our language has in technology issues and we’re excited that Google–it’s
one of the first things that Google–it connects us, you know, Google does on the Internet.
And now we are able to connect on the language. So if you could imagine those little kids
on their computers, they’re not having to see that in English which is reinforcing everything
we’re doing to keep this culture that’s thousand of years old to this continent alive and Google
has been a part of it so we appreciate your time. If you have any questions, we’re here.
[SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]>>So please if you have questions. Let’s
go to the microphone. Let’s do the mic and [INDISTINCT]
>>Okay. I was wondering the process work coming out with Cherokee terms for new concepts.
Is it–do you develop sort of your own sort of names? Or are they sort of partially phonetic
with the English terms? Or how does that work? How indigenous are the names?
>>Yeah. How do you–how do you localize terms that we’ve never had before?
>>Yeah, like Unicode.>>Yeah.
>>I mean, you know.>>Actually, Unicode is–it’s a Unicode-y
but…>>Uh-huh. Okay. So, that’s why I transliterated
it a little bit.>>But most stuff we don’t do.
>>Yeah.>>But code we did because we–a lot of times
we’re localizing. We look at other languages.>>Uh-huh.
>>You can see how they did it and a lot of languages did the idea of transliterations
>>But, like, for email for instance…>>Yeah.
>>We’d call it lightning paper.>>Huh. Cool. Yeah.
>>So it’s–all of them have different terms but mainly they’re Cherokee concepts…
>>Uh-huh.>>…with a handful of transliterations.
>>Uh-huh.>>And so Unicode is transliterated.
>>Uh-huh.>>But most of things like email, server,
they’re all descriptive terms.>>Yeah.
>>Cherokee is a verb-based language.>>Okay.
>>So we described everything, and it’s really neat because you can pack a lot of meaning
in very short word.>>Yeah.
>>And we’re tonal language, so it’s really an interested thing.
>>Yes.>>Like download. Like, you’re taking it down
because it’s so spatial as well…>>Uh-huh.
>>…we were discussing this concept and bunch of all those and then we’re discussing–well,
you down–you actually down–you take it down.>>Uh-hmm.
>>And you put it inside something.>>Uh-huh.
>>And that’s all just in a very small word and so this occurs with stuff from emails
to servers to–I guess I’m standing up and I’m getting blank because I’m nervous but
there’s a lot of terms and most of them deal with that digital stuff usually deals with
some type of lightning.>>Uh-huh. Yeah.
>>Just like–I guess in English, you know, you do electronic…
>>Right.>>…for a lot of things or but for us…
>>It’s lightning?>>…it’s lightning and so–but lightning
papers, we always think it sounds really cool and kids remember it, you know.
>>Yeah, you bet. Yeah.>>So.
>>Just a quick follow-up, you mentioned that Cherokee is a tonal language?
>>Yes.>>Are there tonal marks in the character
>>…or is it like–like something like Arabic or Hebrew where they don’t have vowels and
you just know and so…>>You kind of have to know…
>>Okay. So it’s not…>>…now, we…
>>…indicated in the…>>I don’t know…
>>…in their writing system at all?>>No, it’s not. We’re actually working on
a grant with the science foundation to–for the dictionary to actually put tonal marks
>>…for dictionary purposes.>>Yes.
>>But you’re right, it’s–it has to be known but we always try to describe it as an–you
know, in English, if you write the word store, like, you’re going to a store or something…
>>Yes.>>…you actually write it s-t-o-r-e, you
don’t say “storey”.>>Yes.
>>You know, because we know there’s a silent e there.
>>Yes.>>And we have the similar thing, when you
look at search, we actually had a problem with search. This is oddly enough a really
complicated writing problem we had. The word here is “Aishti” which in Cherokee phonetics,
you drop the second syllabary vowel and so you can actually write “ayoushti, ayashti,
ayusti” and they know what the context–you know what it is.
>>Yes.>>But if you write “ayoushti” you have to
be careful because some of the translators really like that because there are some grammatical
reasons why you could write it this way but if–but it also means to shoot at somebody
or to break apart something and you don’t want that when you’re searching.
>>Right.>>You don’t want to break anything when you’re
pushing a button so we ended up actually translating “ayashti.” We don’t have a centralized system
of writing comparatively because it’s just like you can write cool in English, c-o-o-l
>>…k-o-w-l or k-e-l, we have a slight adjustment to some things but people can pretty much
read it. But we’ve noticed since we’re working–the language is starting to grow with Facebook
and all this stuff.>>Yes.
>>It seems that our community is starting to centralize spellings.
>>Okay.>>In just a few years, I mean, it’s starting
to like–you see people online…>>That’s what you get with a living language
that, you know.>>We didn’t have this kind of growth…
>>[INDISTINCT]>>…and now it’s starting to grow together
>>…but it’s really a good question because these, you know, it troubled us a lot and
sometimes you’ll get stuck a day or two on a word and you’re sitting there trying to
understand concepts. And you’re like, what are programmers thinking? Sorry.
>>Thank you.>>So, I have both a historical question and
a modern question. My historical question, do you have any idea why Sequoia invented
the–a new syllabary whole cloth rather than using Latin alphabets or doing an Abukada
like the Canadian Indian languages used? He seemed of just have taken created–what? 53
>>85.>>…85 symbols. Just created 85 symbols
and assigned sounds to them…>>Yes.
>>…just–you know, was there a reason for this?
>>Well, there is–there’s no hard documentation on why. There’s lot of theories why. There’s
also another theory that there was a Cherokee writing system before this…
>>Okay.>>…and some of what he came up with is
modeled on that too but essentially, you know, what happened is he served in the military
>>…and then he had seen this idea that people could write back and forth and he wanted
to do the same thing. It was more a matter of, I guess, like cultural pride to have our
own, yeah, and so he started working on this unique system of writing this, that is specifically
Cherokee. And so, he called it talking leaves, that as his terminology for it because he
had seen people sending papers and [INDISTINCT] they may know what’s happening way over there,
you know, when they’re not together. And so, when he started developing the writing system–we
actually have another presentation we did about this, I wish we had it with us but–you
know, how it turned out that looked like some of the characters do look like English but
they don’t sound like English. If there’s like conjecture that he was influenced by
other languages like Cyrillic and Greek and I forget what else though but there are several
others that we have comparison slides you can see.
>>Okay.>>But I said, there’s no real hard documentation
of why he did it, you know, it just kind of–that’s how it turned out but the people kind of assume
that, you know, he wanted to be something that was specifically Cherokee rather than
trying to–yes, do you have a…>>okay. Yeah, one of the issues too is that
early on, there were certain missionaries that said that we shouldn’t have our own writing
system after it was already adopted within a few years…
>>Yes.>>…it was a pretty descent writing system
because almost 90% could read and write in a few years of the creation…
>>okay.>>…but after they started writing, the–there
were missionaries that came in and they were like you just need to do it in English phonetics,
that way there’s a better bond between Whites and Indians because we’ll know what your–we’ll
get closer to knowing what you understand–what you understand if we can have a little bit…
>>And–and there was the safety of the Unicode problems.
>>Yeah. Which we never foresaw couple of hundred years ago. But you know the advantages,
some tribes haven’t adopted the language as quickly.
>>Yes.>>But when we first got our phones out, it
was really exciting this last year and even once in awhile we’ll run into somebody, that
didn’t know–we run into some really older people in communities that are way in the
backwoods and we’ll show them the language on a phone and almost inevitably, these older
people do this [INDISTINCT] Can you believe we’re on something that’s on a commercial?
I mean–imagine your language isn’t supported anywhere and for the entire time of you growing
up, they did everything that you’ve known, subversive to blatant annihilation of a culture
and language. And even once a while we run into somebody
who didn’t know were running to some really older people on communities that are way in
backwards. Well, show them the language on the phone. And almost inevitably, these older
people do this. Can you believe on something that’s on the commercial? I mean, imagine
your language is not supported anywhere and for the entire time of you growing up, so
they did everything that you have known subversive to [INDISTINCT] annihilation of the culture
and language. And you’re included on something. How did that happen? And our cultural pride
in our writing system has been–since within the last few days now or plus hundred–couple
of hundred years, Cherokee really want to see their writing system, in fact fanatics
has never really cut on, in fact we were talking at the computer company way out north. And
one of the people were like, ‘why don’t you just give up your language and write in fanatics?
“, that’s a valid thing but we can’t get to the communities to support that. We never,
you know–in the–some of our programs, are language programs tried. And they can get
people like us to use it because we already understanding which well enough of writing
system to do that. But we can’t get the older generation involved of this. And if you get
the older generation, you don’t get the prayer, you don’t get the cultural understanding,
you don’t get the old documents that we have and so, once Sequoia adopted this and, you
know, there’s a lots of speculations–a lot of times people, basically tried to say, he–you
know, “how could you have done this”, I mean, for one he was actually not literate in English.
So, you can imagine and, you know, we always argue of this–there got to be so much nicer
to have an alphabet. You know, syllabary is pretty tough sometimes because we have drops
of some vowels and alphabets are very powerful but this is a guy that he adopted as what
we have. And then he actually came up with a curse of writing. And so the curse of writing
is very different in what you see today, but even he adopted it. He work with the printing
press and some missionaries to actually changed it over to which looks like some English characters
because it was more affordable. Because, you don’t have to–if someone’s already got a
bunch of these, you can use those if somebody in the characters that looked like the curse
of writing that you are already develops and so.
>>Now, my second question is, are you in contact with people working on other–I don’t
know what’s the right term [INDISTINCT] languages, you know, languages like Welsh or Irish or
other endangered languages.>>Yeah, we do a lot of outreach and so far
we have a lot of success because one of the biggest problems with cultures dying is expentional.
You know people usually focusing on just the language and one of the biggest problems is
that, it’s not just about the language. It’s not that you can just search in the language,
you know, that, “oh, great, you can search that”. It said that you’re actively using
your language everyday in a way that you would naturally use it any way. And so we had people
come from Irelands. The guy had a language geek. He does Welsh, you can say it. He is
Welsh, yeah. He’s the one that–he’s actually–we didn’t have any ability to do Unicode on PCs
until he came around.>>Okay.
>>And Cherokee Nations sponsor PCs pretty heavily. And if you’re dealing with the language
that could be difficult until he came around and it was wonderful because we’ve been fighting
for digital inclusion of our language for a long time. Even among in our own community
people.>>Okay. So I know that we have that we go
for a web searches and sometimes we have problems with some languages based on how they are
written? If our languages don’t have spaces, we sometimes have a hard time figuring out
where [INDISTINCT] looking at the pages trying to figure out if that matches a few words.
We’re to split all the characters up into words and do that correctly. It looks like
Cherokee written a syllabary with spaces in between words. I don’t know what kind of grammar
or what was the language has. I don’t know if [INDISTINCT] ultimate spellings that we
should be able to detect or, you know, if you’re typing something, we’ll say, “Here’s
how you would write the plural form for both words for you. Is this tough or easy if you
work on that with us?>>It’s like a pretty complex language but
we do have a grammar book and a dictionary that details a lot of rules that revolved
on there. And we have a searchable document that we have. We can actually send it to you
if you need something like that. And I said, the good of us–as far as like marking, if
you like grammar, if you like–we follow the same pattern of English and commas and periods
and all of that. There’s no special punctuation and there’s–the language is not captilize
or [INDISTINCT] case either. And–yeah. But I say if you–we have a document that kind
of details a lot of these rules of grammar and all that. And then I said the pluralization
is a little bit different for–depending what you’re talking about. Yeah. It’s [INDISTINCT]
of issue…>>Like when were doing translations, you
know, that the biggest thing people asked us, you know, search–who’s searching. You,
me, and like it had just–And then it kind of just–kind of heavily depending on–it’s
talking about you in English. Sometimes it’s actually in same written word even though
it might have same meaning this way. But you can say the same search or I search, you search,
all that stuff. But it–and that for us, it’s like Turkish I guess. It’s a synthetic language
where you add things on, fronts and the backs of words. And those can be–well, for example,
there’s a lot you [INDISTINCT] one of our translator’s name is Dodie Yu. And that’s
a sure–it’s just like four characters and you drop the values. But it means the guy
over there eaten someone else’s food. And so there’s a lot in each word that you can
do. And so, we love Cherokee because it can be a lot more advance in English. And there’s
certain thing like prepositional stuff that we don’t do as well
>>Well, for example, there’s a lot you can put in a word. One of our translators’ name
is Dodayu. And that’s a short–it’s just like four characters and you drop the vowel usually
but it means the guy over there eating someone else’s food. And so, there’s a lot in each
word that you can do. And so, we love Cherokee because it can be a lot more advanced than
English. And then there’s certain things like prepositional stuff that we don’t do as well
in the sense that it’s in already built in the word, so like, whenever we translate,
there’s a lot of these thes and ins and ons that are very complicated because we don’t
put those articles in. And so, a lot of times, when you’re doing localization, you have to
move things around a little bit. I’m sure a lot of languages do that but for us, it’s
new, you know, in making sure that–you know, I know I’m really bad about putting–making
sure that I have my little–my little commas and all that stuff proper in there and it
goes “Check this code,” so I’m like, “Ah, I messed up the code and the translation.”
But it’s an exciting thing that, you know, Google, I mean, you’re basically connecting
the world together and you’re building the Cherokee world together as well. And having
this kind of thing–we can send you the documents and it can be put in a database where we actually
have–it’s the dictionary part was done in ’75 and it has sentence samples all the way
through it for every word and conjugation. So, we have a bunch of samples. And since
we didn’t–we don’t have OCR, poor Jeff had to type this huge document up. And so, luckily,
he’s–we call him Cherokee Fingers because he’s so fast at typing. And so when we can’t–we
have to get something digitized so that we can be searchable, we always bug Jeff because
he’s really fast. And if you find any documents, I don’t want to say that you’ll do it, but
it always helps. Anyway, hopefully that didn’t overdo it. But we appreciate it.
>>I have one comment. I passed around a magazine which has Roy Boney’s artwork in it and I
encourage you to take a look at it. Unfortunately, I can’t give you to keep because we have only
a few copies. But this is an example of the–this is the story of Sequoyah drawn by these folks
and…>>If you’re–if you’re on Google, look at
Roy Boney and Native American Times. Isn’t it?
>>Indian County…>>Or Indian Country Today. And this thing
has actually got the whole…>>[INDISTINCT]
>>It’s a–it’s like a digital version of our history that we’ve talked today but it’s
in a graphic-novel form.>>And you may see the posters that I–that
I made from the first page of–page of that. I had one question. Since you have almost
200 years of written parallel text, English and Cherokee, what would you like to do with
that with the Cherokee Phoenix to further–well, you have tremendous resource there. What do
you want to do with it?>>Well, for one, I mean, we have a lot of
documents that we don’t have digitized and typing them up takes a long time. And, unfortunately,
we’re a small group, like digital group, you know? So, we’re dealing with a lot of other
issues. So–but what we’d like to do is be able to take that documents and put these
translations that, you know, a lot of times, what we did is we did the English versions
and Cherokee versions, you know, on all these documents, all these newspapers so that people
could read it because, I don’t know if we mentioned it, but the Cherokee Phoenix was
the most popular American newspaper of its time in Europe. We were–had more subscriptions
than any other newspaper in Europe that came from the Americas. So our newspaper was known.
In fact, they would do a lot of correspondence that Cherokees actually knew about Turkish
cannons in the 1800s that would take down a British ship with one shot. I knew about
the British mining rubber. And so, it was the scene at the end of the day of what was
going on. And we have all these materials that have really old words that, you know,
just like if you read 1800s English writing, there were some fantastic things you can learn
about grammar. But, unfortunately, we have lots of museums and archives of stuff that
we hadn’t had time to type up everything. And so, we have to hurry because, you know,
our papers are getting old and not everything is digitized.
>>Yeah. The Cherokee Phoenix itself, I think the University of Georgia has a virtual of
archive of–they’re just–they’re just images. And so there’s the University of Arkansas
in Little Rock, they have a website that has images of it too. But there’s no, like, true
text version of it anywhere. And if we could get that, that’d be like a really excellent
resource.>>Because you know…
>>And beyond that, we do have a lot of like–some of the books that we showed in the presentation,
we have these old song books, and hymn books, storybooks. We have old primers, all this
stuff, we could have it digitize like with actual text instead of just scanned images.
That’d be like really excellent. So we can have it searchable and all that’s stuff. That
would be like…>>Google Translate.
>>Yeah, with Google Translate or something like that. All this stuff would be really
great to have all of this, but–and the issue is, you know, there’s not a lot of people
that we have–even the three of us, we’re the–we’re the entire Cherokee Language Technology
team at Cherokee Nation. And so we do a lot of other things, but if we had some way to
actually, like, [INDISTINCT] with an OCR, that would be like a really great tool that
we could use too to digitize all of this.>>Because you know, where we’re from, it’s
not a tech community. We’re a low-internet area with speakers that want to be more involved,
but we–you know, time get very good speakers just type–tapping up this stuff, it’s pretty
tough.>>Unless we’ve been [INDISTINCT]
>>Yeah. And imagine doing it on the phone because that’s our major device with like
internet and stuff. And PCs, we’re still hoping to get some better support, but it’s kind
of tricky. If an update wipes out, you know, we’ll go and install Cherokee on it. One update
wipes it out. We got to go back and like, “Oh, it’s broke.” And what it is the computer
is updated and we have to put Cherokee back on it and all that stuff. And so we’re always
very excited. The keyboard alone has been really handy on this front. We know people
that actually, when things happen like that, they type a lot [INDISTINCT] in that browser
there, and then they can copy and paste it and do something else with it. So we’ll be
out–people really work hard at trying to use the language. And even something as simple
as a little keyboard on a search engine site has become useful.
>>Just a quick question about the keyboard. So, you said someone had developed a sort
of phonetic-composing keyboard instead, right? But the one we have is a traditional keyboard
with the shifts and stuff, is that right? So is there a spec for the composing keyboard?
Would you rather see that keyboard as an option instead of the one that’s there now?
>>BONEY: That would be great if we had that. We have that chart you see early in the presentation.
Hope we find it here. It’s–this is–it follows the phonetic conventions that we used. I’ll
see it in here. Let’s just go through it real quick. I know we had it.
>>It’s on the Google [INDISTINCT]>>BONEY: There it is. This chart here, you
can see it has the Cherokee on the left and on the right is the English phonetically equivalent.
>>Uh-hmm.>>BONEY: So, you know, when you would type
that letter combination all to get that syllable and that’s the…
>>And so that map’s directly on to an English keyboard…
>>BONEY: Yeah.>>…instead of the lower case.
>>BONEY: Yeah.>>SALVADOR: And for people under 40 who like
the phonetics because they already know the keys where…
>>BONEY: Yeah, right.>>SALVADOR: But some of the elders really
like the old way.>>BONEY: The older thing, yeah.
>>SALVADOR: And so, we always defer to them sometimes…
>>BONEY: Right.>>And so…
>>BONEY: They are the source of your culture, right? So.
>>SALVADOR: But when it comes to us typing, we type the phonetics because it’s so fast.
>>BONEY: Uh-huh.>>SALVADOR: And you know, there are certain
characters, there’s like ten of them that you barely use. Of course, I can need word
if you need that letter–you need that letter.>>BONEY: Uh-huh.
>>SALVADOR: And so, sometimes when you type in that way, those ten that you barely use
are really hard to find on the keyboard.>>BONEY: Yeah.
>>SALVADOR: When you haven’t typed it in like a day and a half.
>>BONEY: Right. You forget just which–yeah.>>SALVADOR: Look at the chart in there, but.
>>BONEY: Uh-hmm.>>CORNELIUS: Okay. Next. Well, we need to
respect the time but thank you all for joining us today. If any of you would like to ask
further questions, we’re going to be having lunch in Charlie’s and we’d be happy to have
you to join us. Thank you so much to our speakers and just to let you know, they are speaking
at the Unicode Conference in the next couple of days here in Santa Clara. That and we are
happy that they could join us at Google as well.
>>SALVADOR: Yeah. Wednesday at 3:00, we’re talking over there a little bit different,
more Unicode-based to try to–we also get to meet the guy that helped us get in to the
Unicode chart which we’re very excited about because we–you know, when your language is
actually adopted in the Unicode, I know that’s for geeks too, like, that’s really cool. Like,
we’re going to meet that guy. So we’re excited. Come by if you can. I know you guys are busy
and we appreciate you taking the time out of, you know, you guys are changing the world
one code string at a time and people notice out there. We do. So, thanks for letting us
search in [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE].