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Cherokee Is First Native American Language On Windows 8

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TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -

Cherokee is the first Native American language fully integrated into the new Windows 8 operating system, a fact that will be celebrated Wednesday at Sequoyah Schools in Tahlequah.

More than 20 years ago Microsoft employee Tracy Monteith, a Cherokee from North Carolina, asked the company to include his native language in the computer's core operating system. It wasn't until 2010 that Cherokee Nation language technologists met with Monteith and others at Microsoft to get the project off the ground.

A team of translators was assembled, ranging from tribal employees, speakers in the community and even Cherokee college students.

Lois Leach, a 56-year-old clerk in the Cherokee Nation roads department, logged more than 100 volunteer hours over the past year translating computer terms that did not exist when the Cherokee language was developed.

"You don't look at yourself really doing anything that huge until you see it come together," Leach said. "It's amazing to think our work will be shared all over the world."

Wednesday morning, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Microsoft officials will be on hand at the school for an event recognizing the accomplishment.

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