By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

MISSION, Ore. (AP) - The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have released an online dictionary of their language to preserve it and help new learners pick up the dying tongue.

The project is a collaboration between the confederated tribes’ language program and Amazon Web Services, an Amazon subsidiary that provides cloud-based platforms on a pay-as-you-go basis, the East Oregonian reported Wednesday.

The prevalence of the Umatilla language has diminished over the years as many of its fluent speakers have died.

The tribe established a language program in 1996 to preserve Umatilla by recording elders and teaching the language to tribal youth and adults. The reservation in northeast Oregon is home to a union of three area tribes, the Cayuse, the Umatilla, and the Walla Walla.

In a statement, the tribe credited tribal member Twáway, also known as Inez Spino-Reves, with working with linguists and providing key details about the languages’ grammer and vocabulary.

Members of other Pacific Northwest tribes, including the Nez Perce and the Yakima, also played important roles, as well as biologists and historians who helped with plant and animal identifications and

The online dictionary, which includes a Umatilla keyboard, is available for free here:

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