Tribe uses military technology to preserve culture

Prairie Island tribe in Minnesota is using a Voxtec International Phraselator P2 to pass along Dakota language to next generation


American Indians gave the U.S. military an advantage in World War II by using their native language to confound enemy code-breakers, and now a piece of defense equipment may be returning the favor.

The Prairie Island tribe in Minnesota is using a Voxtec International Phraselator P2 to pass along its Dakota language to the next generation, children K-12. Speak into the P2 handheld translator and it will instantly and accurately "translate spoken English words and phrases into any Native language," according to defense contractor Voxtec.

"The Phraselator technology is allowing us to preserve an integral piece of our native culture that we are in danger of losing," a tribal elder told the Native Times.

The P2 is seeing heavy action in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it allows troops to communicate with the locals. It features voice control for hands free use, 1GB to store translations and a USB port to upload additional languages. It runs on AAs and can be plugged into a PA system.

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    The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at Disclosure.


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