The Gaganoozh (have conversation) app was created to help Indigenous people practice and share Indigenous language journey in a fun way. Using hand gestures to become virtual puppeteers, users create shareable content that celebrates their language and culture. In addition to virtual puppet storytelling, the app features a few short animated stories. The app is available to download for free from the App Store.
“We wanted to create something that would inspire Indigenous people of all ages to embrace the traditions of our ancestors in a modern way,” says Chad Solomon, the designer of Gaganoozh the app and a proud member of Henvey Inlet First Nation in Ontario, Canada. “Our objective is to give language carriers and enthusiasts the tools to make Aanishinabemowin and other Indigenous languages more fun for the seventh generation.” Chad is one of the two creators (Chad Solomon/ Christopher Meyer) behind the Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws, a beloved graphic novel series that features Indigenous characters and stories. You can purchase the series at on the Little Spirit Bear Productions website or explore the Rabbit and Bear Paws YouTube channel!
The application has three character options and offers three storytelling experiences:
Freestyle: Allows users to operate one puppet and see themselves on the screen
Background and Foreground: Allows users to add objects and backgrounds to the screen to create a more vivid story.
Story view: Adds a scroll slider at the bottom of the screen which can be used to read a story and hear how the Aanishinabemowin words are pronounced.
All videos created on Gaganoozh can be shared with family and friends via email and social media.
The app was created with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Michigan University, Ontario Arts Council, FNCCEC and the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Fund from Canada Heritage.