uAlberta announces Cree dictionary, funding for Aboriginal students

February 11, 2015

Educators at the University of Alberta are working on a digital Plains Cree-to-English dictionary to help students studying Cree. The dictionary, being developed by linguistics professor Antti Arppe and Cree instructor Dorothy Thunder, will allow learners to access translations from mobile devices, and is designed to lead to other Cree-language resources such as spell-checkers. The developers are using software designed to translate Scandinavian Indigenous languages. The new dictionary is scheduled to be complete in the next year, with an app to follow. Furthermore, uAlberta has established a new scholarship fund for Aboriginal students in honour of former Provost and VP Carl Amrhein. The new fund will also support Aboriginal teaching and learning experiences and provide more support for the traditional and spiritual aspects of Aboriginal student life. “For me, [Aboriginal engagement] is the place where we have come very far, but it’s also the place where we have an enormous distance yet to go,” said Amrhein. “Alberta and Canada will be successful if, and only if, we can provide a safe, respectful and honourable welcoming place for Aboriginal learners.” Current uAlberta Vice-Provost and Registrar Lisa Collins recently told Metro News that the university has made it a priority to encourage and support students who self-identify as Aboriginal. “We strive to have the university’s student population attain a level that’s at least proportionate to the Aboriginal population of the province,” said Collins. Approximately 4% of the uAlberta student population has self-identified as Aboriginal. CBC | uAlberta News | Metro News