Byte By Byte (language)

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Fri Oct 31 19:15:36 UTC 2003

Yaqui youth celebrating their culture, byte by byte

Tucson Citizen

TUCSON (AP) -- The legends, songs and history of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe
are finding a new high-tech life in the hands of the tribe's young

The first Intel Computer Clubhouse in southern Arizona opened on the
reservation in October giving children ages 10 to 18 the opportunity to
learn how to use audiovisual equipment and other electronics to
preserve the culture of the tribe.

The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network uses technology to allow young
people to explore their interests and become confident learners.

"If you want to play games, you have to design them. If you want to be
on the Internet, you have to design a Web page," Clubhouse assistant
coordinator Felipe Flores said.

Students might not realize it now, but they are learning important
interpersonal and leadership skills, Flores said.

One Yaqui senior, Rita Coronado, put four days of training to good use,
animating a digital photograph of a Yaqui dancer and setting her work
to traditional music.

"It's possibly the world's first Pascua Yaqui music video," said Debora
Norris, spokeswoman for the tribe.

The program is open to kids from the reservation and the larger Tucson

"It's fabulous," Norris said. "It gives kids a new way to look at
culture and make it their own."

Club members work individually and in teams on short films of one
another and other projects.

"They're going to be making these videos and computer games instead of
buying them," Norris said.

"It's interesting watching them watch themselves on television, and
their friends and parents. It's not something, coming from here, that
they're used to seeing. They love it."

Yaqui ninth-grader Chris Herber, the 3-D graphics expert in the lab,
spends a majority of his time in the lab teaching other students how to
create images in the Bryce 5 visual arts program.

"I'm the only one that knows it," Chris said. Adding, that while he is
still in the process of learning the computer program's intricacies, he
quickly picked up the basics by his third day. "There are a lot of
things you can do here. Learn new stuff, meet new people."

The entire Yaqui community will be able to take advantage of the
clubhouse's equipment during school hours for a project aimed at
preserving the written and oral Yaqui dialect.

"Very few people are fluent in the Yaqui language, so that's the
priority right now," Norris said. "We haven't been able to address it
up to this point through the traditional school system, so this makes
the best of a bad situation."

The Pascua Yaqui Intel Computer Clubhouse is one of 60 worldwide and
five in Arizona. Four are in the Phoenix area, said Jeanne Forbis,
spokeswoman for Intel Corp.

Nancy Mager, grant administrator for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, said the
clubhouse is funded for three years by a $50,000 grant from the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation and a $10,000 grant from Intel Corp.

Various companies donated more than $300,000 worth of software and
computer hardware, she said.

"Intel launches the program with the idea being the tribe will make it
sustainable," she said. "After three years, we'll remain in the Intel
network, which provides training and support. And the kids will be part
of the network through the Intel science fair and things like that."

Alex Manuel, a Yaqui fifth grader, said he's lucky to have the latest
technology and computers available to him five days a week at the

"It's fun," Alex said. "I'm just trying to figure out how to do things

More information about the Endangered-languages-l mailing list