Immersive program aims to preserve Indigenous languages
In August 2022, York University’s Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) invested $40,000 in Biskaabiiyaang: The Indigenous Metaverse, an Indigenous-led metaverse that provides Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) language and First Nation cultural competency programs within a virtual world.
Biskaabiiyaang recently joined the global community for UNESCO’s International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032 and is part of a global community of 1,400 organizations working together for Indigenous language preservation.
Using immersive quests, activities and learning games, Biskaabiiyaang aims to increase the number of Anishinaabemowin second-language speakers over the next decade. It will also become a living archive that will safeguard the heritage of Indigenous Peoples.
The project, led by Anishinaabe Professor Maya Chacaby from York’s Glendon campus, brings together First Nation Elders, Anishinaabe community members, the Indigenous Youth Council, the Nokiiwin Tribal Council and the metaverse builder UniVirtual to develop an Indigenized curriculum, create new experiential education opportunities, protect endangered Indigenous languages and empower Indigenous communities.