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Portfolio – PaskentaWeb

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The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians are a small Native American tribe in Northern California. Through perseverance and hard work the Tribe managed to regain their federal recognition and has begun the long process of reasserting their unique Tribal identity. They came to us to for the next step: an online platform to teach their Tribal members their own language and culture.

This project included a number of unique challenges:

  • Building an extensive Nomlaki -> English / English -> Nomlaki dictionary to support the Tribe’s efforts to bring Nomlaki back as a living language. The dictionary includes audio clips to allow students to hear how the words are pronounced, a custom keyboard to allow entering special characters, “fuzzy” search magic and an extensive administrative back end.
  • Off-line dictionary administration and development. The Tribal Linguist frequently works in remote areas without internet access. We built a lap-top based tool to allow him to bring the entire site with him, make dictionary edits while off-line, and seamlessly sync the changes back to the live site.
  • Special security features to detect inappropriate account activity, automatically shut down user accounts and report activity to the admin.
  • …and of course, always being sensitive and attentive to culturally appropriate communication styles.

In order to help Tribal members feel closer to home the site background changes color to reflect the current time of day in the Nomlaki homeland. The landscape imagery also changes to match the current season.  Outside of the custom features the site is powered by WordPress and includes a members-only community news section.

This was a very rewarding project and we felt honored to be part of the Nomlaki cultural revival.

Unfortunately the site is not currently available to the public.  Contact us for a private demo.

(Please click to enlarge the screenshots.)




This project was produced in partnership with Dawson Media Group and Hot Pepper Studios.