Traditional knowledge keepers have opted to utilize modern technology to preserve language and culture in the East Kootenay region of B.C. for the community to mark Orange Shirt Day this autumn.

On Sept. 30, the Ktunaxa Nation Council (KNC) shared a QR Code Campaign as a learning resource geared toward speaking the traditional Ktunaxa language on an audio file in a pledge of respect to honour Orange Shirt Day.

“We’re super excited to share this invaluable resource with residents of ʔamakʔis Ktunaxa today—and we wish that all students have a safe and productive school year,” Bonnie Harvey, KNC education ambassador, said in a recent press release. “We’ve got to take care of each other every day at school and at home, and respect is the starting place that leads to understanding and friendship.”

QR Code Campaigns often start with what appears to be a two-dimensional barcode that is black and white. Typically, what its users often overlook, is that these barcodes represent complex information or text that can only be read by a computer.

According to The Economist, Apple recently updated their code base for its mobile operating system, which is commonly known as iOS 11, to support the popularity of QR Code-use so that users can quickly retrieve information about websites, learning resources or maps.

Android has also embraced the QR Code by implementing functionality for users to access on a three-dimensional touchscreen app or through “QR” in spotlight.

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy that began when the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion events took place in Williams Lake in the spring of 2013. It united former students and families from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations with the Cariboo Regional District, school districts, civic organizations as well as elected officials from a number of municipalities by commemorating the residential school experience for survivors and their families to work toward healing.

The KNC plans to keep the QR Code intact indefinitely so that the community may listen to the traditional Ktunaxa language going forward. It was created by the KNC Education and Employment Centre in collaboration with School District #5 and the pledge is currently being displayed in the Yaqan Nukiy school gymnasium located in Creston.

The pledge has been translated into English with the help of Ktunaxa elders.

To learn more about residential schools and how to proceed with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, please visit the Assembly of First Nations learning toolkit for the “Plain Talk 6: Residential Schools.”