There are around 290,000 Cherokee people in the world today but only about 8,000 speak the Cherokee language. Cherokee tribal leaders have come up with an ingenious way to help keep their language alive. Tribal leaders decided to petition Apple to include Cherokee on its list of languages supported by its products. The petition seemed unlikely to achieve its goal as Apple only supported 50 languages at the time. Miraculously Apple decided to include Cherokee as an official language with tribal leaders only finding out about the news when iOS 4.1 was released. According to Forbes,

Now, teachers at the Cherokee Nation language immersion school in Tahlequah, Okla., use their iPhones to text students in Cherokee after school, parents can text their kids in Cherokee, and teens can text each other in their native tongue.

Forbes also notes that this is not the first time Cherokee leaders have used modern technology to keep their language alive.

The tribe obtained a printing press in 1828 to publish the bilingual newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix. Just as their printing press used the modern technology available at the time to bring the language to tribal members of all ages, today’s tribal leaders saw a partnership with Apple as a way to keep kids interested in speaking and writing in Cherokee.

[via: Forbes]