Nashipae Narrative is a U.S. (New Jersey) based NGO 501(c)(3) with a mission to digitally document, preserve, and properly disseminate the storytelling and folklore of the Maasai in parts of southwestern Kenya. Tribal cultures without good recordkeeping systems have not yet come to understand the historical value of documentation that helps prevent rich and knowledge-filled cultures from fading away.
Not only does this present a problem for tribes without documentation of parts of their language, but this represents a larger problem as UNESCO Atlas ranks Kenya top in East Africa in the list of countries with the highest number of extinct languages. Six languages are already classified as extinct and seven others are under threat. Individual tribes are ultimately pieces in a larger puzzle of historical, anthropological, and evolutionary knowledge that all of humanity can find value in.
Our non-profit organization is committed to solving this issue by digitizing (audio and video) the storytelling and folklore of the Maasai. Through this traditional storytelling, the Maa language itself would be digitized and preserved purely by extension, irrespective of the cultural-specific knowledge inherent to the stories themselves. With the expertise of village elders (men and women) who retain most of these stories and introducing the Maasai youth about the value of this work, the Maasai will be in a better position to preserve their own knowledge-filled oral history. The stories will be digitally captured, translate from Maa to English with subtitles-and submit to Wikitongues for safe data storage, management and dissemination to some of the worlds biggest platforms including the Library of Congress and several popular social media platforms. The building blocks laid by this initial documentation of Maasai folklore will serve as starting points for other preservationists to use as a template, and with the continued expansion of the internet and new ideas on information sharing, it will also benefit linguists, anthropologists, and cognitive scientists who, with this valuable information, may be able to chart a more comprehensive record of the past.