Film and native language preservation

Noisecat-IndigenousLanguageFilms
Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s SG̲aawaay Ḵ’uuna (Edge of the Knife) (2018) is the first motion picture ever to depict the language and culture of Haida Gwaii; fewer than twenty-four people speak Haida fluently. (Image Courtesy: The New Yorker).

One hundred sixty-five indigenous languages remain out of the three hundred spoken in North America before colonization, and tribal elders, humanitarians, as well as linguists are tapping into the power of film to preserve these dying tongues, according to The New Yorker. Following the release of Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) (2001), the first feature to be written, directed, and acted in the eastern Inuit dialect of Inuktitut, the likes of the Star Wars saga and Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo (2003) have been translated into Navajo. Iñupiaq filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean says, “In the academic space, the language survives; in the cultural space, the language lives.”

Author: Hunter Goddard

A jack of all trades, Master of Arts, in multimedia content creation and marketing. I'm developing my blog site, Suspension of Disbelief, into a collection of daily short-form news posts about the industry and craft of writing as well as flash essays where I leave the world a more beautiful place than I found it, with a talent for creative nonfiction where other artists wield a paintbrush or a musical instrument instead. Here, you will find the facts of life aestheticized into the plot points of your next favorite dramatic narrative.

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