16th July 2001

 

PRESERVING THE LANGUAGES OF NATIVE AMERICA

 

A web expert from the University of Lincoln is about to embark on a month-long project to preserve in digital form the languages of native Americans in Arizona.

 

Felix Gonzalez (29) is part of a seven-strong team who will be taking part in the Rez Digital Story Telling Multimedia Camp 2002.

 

The project is being run by the visual arts organisation Café Society for the Withernsea Education Action Zone based at Keyingham Junior School.

 

The project will spend a month with three native American tribes - the Gila, the Hopi and the Navajo - to publish stories in native American languages and teach creative and technological skills to native American children.

 

The Arizona project is the first of a series of workshops which will be held in key locations leading to the online publication of a database of digital world stories created by students from a variety of societies and cultures.

 

“We’ll be visiting three tribes and building web sites with them,” explained Felix, who works as staff communications manager at the University of Lincoln.

 

“One of our ideas is to build a multi-functional online dictionary to translate words from English into the native American language in text form and with sound, and we also hope to create an interactive forum on the web.”

 

Felix lived in East Hull until recently and got involved in the project after running a series of multimedia and web design workshops at Withernsea School.

 

“I’m really looking forward to the trip – we feel like archaeologists trying to bring out aspects of native American life and language and record them electronically,” he said.

 

“The reservations suffer from high crime and illiteracy rates, but if we can get these kids interested in media or film-making it might inspire them to change their lives.”

 

Felix is due to fly out to Arizona on Thursday 18th July 2002. Before that date he can be contacted on 07947 105165.

 

 

For more information contact:

Jez Ashberry, University of Lincoln                        Tel: 01522 886042

Jonathan Robson, project leader              Tel: 07956 371175