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There's an (Inuktitut) App for That

The Canada Council for the Arts has debuted the first-ever Smartphone app in Inuktitut to reach out to northern artists who may not speak English.
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Canada’s first Inuktitut app has been launched. The Canada Council for the Arts is giving out information on how to apply for grants with an app for iPads, iPhones, the iPod touch and Androids in the language of the Inuit. The goal is to attract musicians, artists and writers of the far north to the programs.

With 3,000 to 6,500 artists living in Nunavut, there is a lot of talent to plumb. The council received 23 grant applications from Nunavut and awarded $281,000 in arts funding in 2010–11, the Nunatsiaq News reported. Sarah Rushton, a spokeswoman with the Canada Council for the Arts, told the newspaper that the council developed the app after learning that one main barrier that Inuit artists face when it comes to apply for grants is the fact that there isn’t much information in their language.

“We know that there are tons of artists in the North,” she told the Nunatsiaq News. “And we know that the number of [northern] applicants we normally get doesn’t correspond to that.”

It is one of many ways in which indigenous languages have moved into the digital age. With the Cherokee syllabary on Google and iPhone, and the legendary Steve Jobs leading the way in getting indigenous languages onto Smartphones, the Canada Council of the Arts is in good company. The app was developed by FaveQuest Corporation, which builds websites and mobile apps for events such as festivals and conventions, according to its own website.

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“We've built many mobile apps, but never before have we had the opportunity to design and build something with content in Inuktitut. It's a beautiful looking language, and it was a thrill to bring the first-ever mobile app containing Inuktitut to the Apple iTunes store and the Android Market,” FaveQuest Co-founder Bill Love said in a statement. “FaveQuest is proud that we are part of this first-ever, and we hope these apps will help the Canada Council for the Arts communicate with the Canadian artistic community.”