June 15, 2013

First Story smartphone app

Twitter, apps link aboriginal people

First Story pinpoints city's historic sites

By Jonathan Charlton
"There is kind of an invisibility that's not true, say in Winnipeg or Saskatoon," says Victoria Freeman of York University. "The Toronto population at large often is unaware there are indigenous people in the city at all, or that indigenous people ever lived there."

She and Heather Howard of Michigan State University hope to change that with a new smartphone app. They presented their work to the NAISA conference at the University of Saskatchewan on Friday.

First Story documents historic sites around Toronto on a map with text, video, photos and music.

A user can pick out dots on the map, or the app can identify places as the user walks by.

It's a modern update of The Great Indian Bus Tour of Toronto, which used to show people the city through aboriginal eyes.

"Youth use smartphones. Everybody uses them. We're combining the history with a layer (of) events in the native community in Toronto so that people will be checking it all the time," Freeman said. "It really brings the history alive in a way that, on your weekend reading a book, doesn't."
Comment:  This is infinitely better than the racist "Make Me Indian" app.

Imagine a phone app that could give you tidbits of Native history and culture anywhere in the US or Canada. That would be something.

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