Apple helps preserve Cherokee language

Apple Online Store“Nine-year-old Lauren Hummingbird wants a cell phone for Christmas — and not just any old phone, but an iPhone. Such a request normally would be met with skepticism by her father, Cherokee Nation employee Jamie Hummingbird,” The Associated Press reports.

“He could dismiss the obvious reasons a kid might want an iPhone, except for this — he’s a proud Cherokee and buying his daughter the phone just might help keep the tribe’s language alive,” AP reports. “Nearly two centuries after a blacksmith named Sequoyah converted Cherokee into its own unique written form, the tribe has worked with Apple to develop Cherokee language software for the iPhone, iPod and — soon — the iPad. Computers used by students — including Lauren — at the tribe’s language immersion school already allow them to type using Cherokee characters.”

“The goal, Cherokee Chief Chad Smith said, is to spread the use of the language among tech-savvy children in the digital age,” AP reports. “Smith has been known to text students at the school using Cherokee, and teachers do the same, allowing students to continue using the language after school hours.”

AP reports, “Tribal officials first contacted Apple about getting Cherokee on the iPhone three years ago. It seemed like a long shot, as the devices support only 50 of the thousands of languages worldwide, and none were American Indian tongues. But Apple’s reputation for innovation gave the tribe hope.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Robert S.” for the heads up.]


  1. Maybe I should have spent 30 secs to do some basic research! It seems Navajo is the main language, but Wikipedia does note that Cherokee was used first in WWI. Still a great story and so typical of Apple to do this…

  2. @ᏣᏯ – If you Google ᏣᏔᎧᎿᏀᏍᏜᏩᏯᎦᎭᎳᎹᎾᏆᏌᏓᏝᎡᎢᎣᎤᎥ you are the top hit. FWIW.

    I head this a few months back. This yet another great iPhone story.

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