singuistics artwork

Singuistics: Gwich’in Edition

May 18, 2016

Game Design
25 Minutes


About the author

Pinnguaq Association, a not-for-profit organization, incorporates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) into unique learning applications that promote storytelling, health, wellness and growth with rural and remote communities. At its core, Pinnguaq embraces diversity and creates opportunities in order to empower all people.

Pinnguaq is very excited to announce the first in a series of upgrades to the Singuistics language learning app. We first released Singuistics in December 2013, as a way of being exposed to the Inuktitut language through the traditional songs and art of the Inuit people. It is an iPad app that tries to embed culture and language in your head through music.

Singuistics logo
download in app store button.

Click to Download (Free – iPad only)

After a number of years, we are on the verge of rolling out at least four new languages over the next four months, and it all starts with Gwich’in.

Working with the Tetlit Gwich’in of Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories, we’ve put together an extremely unique take on the Singuistics learning system. With the support of the Aboriginal Language Initiative of the federal government and the Gwich’in Tribal Council, Singuistics is now available with three Gwich’in songs, and art done by John Bonnetplume of Fort McPherson.

picture of Sarah Peter Ga'ahdoh

Sarah Peter Ga’ahdoh

This edition of Singuistics sounds different than the rest. The songs come from an old recording of a woman named Sarah Peter Ga’ahdoh. Sarah was born in 1894 and in the early 1970s, Sarah sat down with her family and “CHAK Radio” and recorded a series of songs and stories. We have over two hours of audio and have pulled out three of the songs she sang in that session to create these lessons. These songs are raw and a reflection of the way Sarah told stories and shared her culture. We have at least one more song that we will be adding to the app at a later date.

These pieces are provided by her grandson, James Ross, of Fort Mcpherson. James helped us coordinate the Gwich’in edition on the ground in Fort McPherson, bringing together artists and language educators. Eleanor Mitchell-Firth gets the credit for the excellent language lessons that were put together for this app, and John Bonnetplume created a series of incredible art, some of which we haven’t even been able to share yet. This will come!

art from the singuistics app

The Tech

We took the last year bringing the core Singuistics engine from the Xcode programming software and into Unity. This will allow us to release Singuistics on a variety of other devices, beyond just the iPad (as it has previously only been available). Look for Android, iOS phones, and tablets and even desktop releases in the near future.


Singuistics is only going to grow from here. Next up is the Anishinaabemowin songs we have prepared. That will be followed by Cree and Dene versions. Throughout, we have additional Gwich’in songs (at least one), three new Inuktitut songs (featuring The Jerry Cans), and some more fine tuning and device releases to put out.

All will grow within the app itself and we hope to spread this learning and play tool to any Indigenous language who is interested in using this tool. The process is far from perfect, but our hope is that it provides a unique way to be introduced to the rich nations that inhabit this land, and the languages that build the place we all live today.

art from the singuistics app

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