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Foreign language app Duolingo adds indigenous languages to mark Columbus Day

Foreign language app Duolingo adds indigenous languages to mark Columbus Day
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The foreign language–learning app Duolingo has introduced courses in two indigenous languages to mark Columbus Day, which is celebrated as Indigenous Peoples Day in some cities.

The app, which has more than 300 million users, launched programs in Hawaiian and Navajo, according to ABC News.

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Myra Awodey, the app’s lead community specialist, told ABC News that adding indigenous languages to Duolingo can help preserve the languages for future generations.

“When we lose a language, we lose access to an entire history of a kind of culture,” Awodey said.

Awodey said that Navajo is the most popular indigenous language in North America, with more than 332,000 Americans claiming Navajo ancestry.

The additions come on Columbus Day, amid a national movement to honor Native Americans instead of the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.

A number of cities, including San Francisco and Minneapolis, have instead begun observing Indigenous Peoples Day.