Local stores will be holding contests to launch Aboriginal language signage
FORT SMITH, NT – Many grocery stores across the South Slave have opted into the South Slave Divisional Education Council’s latest initiative Shopping in Two Worlds. The initiative draws language out of the classrooms and into the communities in a highly visible way through introducing grocery tags in the local Aboriginal languages to the stores.
The tags, which include the Aboriginal word for the food, an accompanying image, and a scannable QR code, will slide in next to tags currently in grocery stores which show the English word and price for items. Customers who have downloaded a free QR scanner on their phones will be able to scan the new tags and hear the product name spoken aloud in Cree, Slavey (Dene Yatié) and Chıpewyan (Dene Dédliné) depending on the language or languages spoken in their community.
“If we want the traditional Aboriginal languages of our communities once again spoken proudly and fluently, we need to create opportunities for them to be fully integrated throughout our communities,” explained Brent Kaulback, retired assistant superintendent. “By helping our stores become living dictionaries, we are taking another step towards language revitalization.”
Local stores that have joined in include Kaeser’s Store in Fort Smith, Super A Foods in Hay River, Ehdah Cho Store in K’atlodeeche, and the Lutsel K’e Co-op in Lutsel K’e. Each store will be holding a contest throughout the month to encourage customers to seek out the Aboriginal language in the store and translate it to English to win one entry in a weekly draw for a grocery gift certificate. Details of the contests can be found in each local store.
While the initiative is being launched as part of the SSDEC’s Aboriginal Language Month activities, the signage will remain up in stores all year.