A video game that teaches and preserves the Shoshone Indian tribe's language and culture has been honored by a national education group.
The National Indian Education Association presented the William Demmert Cultural Freedom Award to the University of Utah’s Shoshoni Language Project for working with teenage Shonshones to develop Enee, a video game that leads players through the tribe's language and legends. Enee translates as “scary” in English.
Cora Burchett, Devin Gardner and Trent Griffith fear the tribe’s next generation will never learn the old stories or the Shoshone language. As part of the University of Utah’s Shoshone/Goshute Youth Language Apprenticeship Program, the teens joined with linguistic scholars and Zeph Fagrergren of the U’s Electronic Arts and Engineering program last summer to design Enee.
“We wanted something attention-grabbing," Burchett told SLMag. "We decided to do a game because that’s the way technology is advancing now. Almost everyone plays games now, even old people.”
Burchett learned the stories from her grandmother Lilly Sanchez, who told her:
“Don’t be afraid of these stories. You’ll be scared—but don’t run away from it. You will learn from them.”
Read more about Enee and Burchett in Salt Lake magazine.