CFDC launches first ever Cree audio guide

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden made Cree the third language to be included on its Digital Audio Guide. (SUPPLIED IMAGE)

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The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden made Cree the third language to be included on its Digital Audio Guide.

Used by more than 117,000 people Cree is the most widely spoken indigenous language in Canada and Manitoba.

“It is an honour to be able to offer Cree as part of our digital audio guide,” said CFDC executive director Peter Cantelon. “We wanted to do our part to help in the preservation and use of indigenous language given our role as a heritage museum. To our knowledge we are the first museum to offer Cree as part of a digital audio guide.”

The digital audio guide was first released in English and French, replacing hand held audio guides that Cantelon said were cumbersome, difficult to use and hard to maintain.

“For years we’ve been trying to find opportunities to connect with indigenous peoples of Canada,” he said. “A big part of the population in the province is indigenous and we know the efforts that were being made to recover and preserve and further use indigenous languages.

CFDC reached out to Indigenous Languages of Manitoba to make it happen.

Winnipeg’s Bit Space Development Ltd. Created the app and Golden West Radio provided the studio for audio recording making the effort a truly 100 per cent Manitoban initiative.

Funding for the initiative was made available by the Province of Manitoba’s Signature Museum grant.

“We cannot thank Indigenous Languages of Manitoba enough for the effort they put into this translation for us,” said Cantelon. “Not only can people come to the museum and receive a tour in Cree but teachers and students throughout Canada can download the app and learn about marine reptiles, mosasaurs, dinosaurs and ancient Manitoba in the language. It’s a great and fun way to learn and listen to Cree.”

Cantelon said it’s part of their plan to push the museum outside its walls. “Of course we love getting people in the museum,” he said. “It’s our bread and butter, it’s bringing admissions revenue but we have to also be aware of those users… who have no capability of getting here.”

CFDC is exploring adding even more languages to the app, but Cantelon said they’re not sure which one will be next.

He said they have to consider where their visitors come from and not just local demographics.

“We have to take into account that 80 per cent of our visitors come from outside the region,” he said. “We have to look at languages that are more broadly beneficial to our users.”

Russian and Tagalog (spoken by Filipinos) are being considered.

“The largest Filipino community in Canada is based in Winnipeg,” he said.

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre houses the nation’s largest collection of marine reptile fossils and the world’s largest Mosasaur – Bruce, a Guinness World Record holder.

For more information about the CFDC visit www.discoverfossils.com

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