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Nez Perce Tribe preserves their native language through new smartphone app

LAPWAI, ID - A new mobile app is now available to learn the Nez Perce language, and for tribal members, to preserve their language.

KLEW News Reporter Suzette Reynoso shows us how it works.

There are over 1,000 words and phrases on this new phone app. All of them are in the Nez Perce language.

"Kids these days are able to use technology, it's almost like second nature to them," said Thomas Gregory.

Thomas "Tatlo" Gregory is the Nez Perce Language Coordinator in Lapwai, and is one of the phone app creators. He said this new technology is a tool for kids to learn the language and so far, the feedback has been positive.

"They've developed a passion for the language and we have finally have found something that really gets their enthusiasm going," said Gregory.

You can find Nez Perce language influences throughout the valley, for example, Asotin, comes from the Nez Perce word "heesutin."

"There is no better way than to be able to hear it," said Gregory. "Our elders can't get everywhere so this is one way to preserve their voice."

You can download the Nez Perce language application for free straight to your smartphone or tablet.

Gregory says there are also a few electronic books in the Nez Perce language, and all of the illustrations were drawn by Lapwai Elementary School students.

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