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CTUIR and Cayuse modernize the "camp crier"

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) has launched its new mobile application, Cay-Uma-Wa Camp Crier, which is designed to enhance communications with and among its Umatilla Reservation community.

The mobile app was designed and built by Cayuse Native Solutions, a subsidiary of Cayuse Holdings, which is wholly owned by the CTUIR. The CTUIR’s version of the app is considered the pilot version, meaning it is the first of its kind, and CTUIR is helping to shape and contribute feature and module ideas, some of which are still in production.

The app is available now in the Apple (iOS) and Android app stores for free, under the name Cay-Uma-Wa Camp Crier. After downloading the app to their mobile device, users must sign up for an account to request access. Because the app is exclusively for use by the CTUIR and its community, user requests will be reviewed and approved by CTUIR staff.

The app is intended for use only by CTUIR tribal members, residents of the reservation, employees of the tribe and its various businesses and entities, and others with ties to the CTUIR, which makes it different than other communication tools such as social media.

According to Jiselle Halfmoon, CTUIR Acting Communications Director, “We will be using Cay-Uma-Wa Camp Crier to quickly communicate with the community in a more targeted manner. Our initial list of app uses includes emergency notifications, department updates, language lessons, council meeting notices and links, job opportunities, and a list of tribal resources users can access with the push of a button.”

Halfmoon says the app will have official groups created and administered by the CTUIR, and also app users to create their own groups with friends, family and community members. Users can send text messages, photo messages, and do audio and video calls among their app user friends or with officials at CTUIR.

“We have a small set of official groups to start with, and will be adding more official groups this summer as we get staff from various departments trained on the app,” said Halfmoon. “We ask the community to be patient as we learn how to use this amazing tool and to get our staff accustomed to using it as part of their roles to serve the community.”

Halfmoon noted that if people have suggestions for official groups or ways to use the app, she welcomes their input and said the easiest way to make those suggestions is to use the “Contact Us” button on the website.

According to Debra Croswell, CNS President, who oversees the app’s design and development, CNS plans to market and sell the mobile app to other tribes throughout the U.S. “We’ve had interest from a few tribes inquiring about the app,” said Croswell. “We have been adding features to the app to make it a robust and useful tool for tribes to communicate with their communities more effectively. We’ll be visiting with tribes to start customizing their version of the app, which will retain the Camp Crier portion of the name but will also contain a name representing that particular tribe.”

Croswell says the name of the app is a tribute to many Native American cultures where those who would travel from village to village, by foot or on horseback, to deliver important news were often known as camp criers.

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