Revitalisation at a “tipping point”

Revitalisation of indigenous knowledge and culture is at a “tipping point”, with technology the key to success.
Speaking at New Zealand’s National Digital Forum this week Steven Renata drew on KIWA’s experience in working with indigenous communities around the world to demonstrate how technology can be used to preserve ancestral knowledge in formats that are relevant and accessible.
“Technology is the key to promoting and preserving indigenous language and culture. This week KIWA is working with the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages at the Pulliima Indigenous Language and Technology conference to produce a unique digital resource that will bring to life six Aboriginal languages. The app, created by the groups themselves, will tell the story of each group’s relationship with their land, in their own language.”
Playing to the audience Australia’s Lost Languages, a song written in 2010 that includes 75 Aboriginal languages no longer actively used, he noted KIWA was now working to create resources in eight of these languages.
“The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages and others are putting huge effort into preserving Australia’s ‘Lost Languages’. This is paying off and we are now at a “tipping point” in terms of their preservation, with technology the key to success.”
KIWA has undertaken numerous projects with indigenous groups in USA, United Arab Emirates, Australia, and New Zealand, where digital books are developed to preserve stories. The communities themselves design the content, drawing on the knowledge of elders, as well as assets that have been stored for many years; write, illustrate and narrate the stories in their own language; and then help build them into bilingual experiential digital books that are proven to increase engagement and understanding.
We plan to further support this work through our R&D programme, supported by Callaghan Innovation, by introducing a licensable version of our proprietary software later this year.