Published: May 16, 2017

Using IPads to learn Arapaho

9-year-old Quiana Piper (center) and her 3rd grade class study using their iPads and the Arapaho language app that has been created to help teach the language and culture at the Arapaho School in Arapahoe, Wyo. on the Wind River reservation March 1, 2017.Photo by Joe Amon


A recent article in the Denver Post by Kevin Simpson, highlghted current efforts to revitalize the Arapaho language on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Only a couple dozen people speak Arapaho of the 10,000 plus tribal members. Since the majority of these speakers are in their 70's, the article highlights the ways the younger and older generations are working together to revitalize their language, including phone apps, websites, classroom immersion, etc. William C'Hair, Chairman of the Arapaho Language and Cultural Commission stresses how important the language is to the Arapaho culture as well. 

 "If you don’t understand the language it’s very difficult to practice our cultural ways, our values, our world views, our political conscience. All derives from the language.” 

William C'Hair, Chairman of the Arapaho Language and Cultural Commision

Some of these efforts involve Dr. Andrew Cowell, CNAIS Faculty and Chair of CU Linguistics department, as well as thos of CU graduate student, Irina Wagner. Cowell has been working with the Arapaho tribe for seventeen years, and the inter-active website The Arapaho Language Project is one of the fruits of those efforts. Cowell and Wagner are currently working on an on-line dictionary that includes an English-Arapaho translator.

The tribe is also working with other new technologies to help integrate the language into tribal classrooms. For example, once a week C'Hair teaches Arapaho via teleconference to tribal members on a reservation in Oklahoma. Additionally the Arapaho school on the Wind River reservation used a tech company in Las Vegas to create an app called "Arapaho" that students can use on IPads and smartphones.

See the photo above. Read the full story with photos and video here: