FirstVoices.com is an online space for communities to share and promote their language, oral culture and linguistic history. Communities create secure, interactive language sites online by uploading audio recordings, words, phrases, songs and stories to be shared with others. Operating since 2003, FirstVoices is an initiative of the First Peoples' Cultural Council.
FirstVoices features and projects
Member groups represent over 50 Indigenous nations, bands and other non-profit organizations. The content they create, called "language sites", are unique and promote linguistic diversity of Indigenous language and culture. Importantly, members retain ownership of content created by them for use on their community site. The goal of FirstVoices.com is to help Indigenous languages succeed with state-of-the-art hardware, software, and technical support for their communities.
Public and private content
While most language sites on FirstVoices are visible to the public, members can choose to create content that can be accessed only through a secure login. Examples of this type of content include stories, sacred songs, prayers, ceremonial regalia, or dances seen only in community ceremonies.
Elders and youth team up for language preservation
The FirstVoices team works with experienced language educators, band councils and language communities to plan revitalization programs. Using digital recording, many of these Elders' voices are preserved and accessed online by computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Younger, tech-savvy community members become engaged through training in professional audio recording and archiving techniques. We can also help with physical archives, such as audio cassettes, photos, and written sources which can be digitally archived through Federal and Provincial grant programs.
FirstVoices website – web-based platform where communities can create, edit, host, and maintain content on their own interactive "language site," featuring a suite of online tools such as dictionary, custom search, games, Kids Portal and more.
FirstVoices apps – interactive dictionary apps for Android and iOS, pulling content from FirstVoices language sites. The apps contain text, audio, image and video content and are available as free downloads from the iTunes and Google Play stores.
FirstVoices keyboards – keyboard software designed in partnership between language communities and the Keyman keyboard development team, downloadable on Mac and PC computers
FirstVoices keyboard app – contains keyboard software for all FirstVoices keyboards within one easy to use app. Once the FirstVoices keyboard app is installed on a mobile device, any one of the 100+ custom keyboards can be activated. Users then are able to select their keyboard(s) of choice within their email, social media, word processing or other apps.
We have resources and people to help you start your own language site, or connect with one of our existing language sites. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.