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Native Languages Make Native Movies Better

According to Screen Junkies.com, The 10 Best American Indian Movies of All Time are “Dances with Wolves” (1990), “Last of the Mohicans” (1992), “Little Big Man” (1970), “Fort Apache” (1948), “Nanook of the North” (1922), “The New World” (2005), “The Fast Runner” a.k.a. “Atanarjuat” (2001), “Smoke Signals” (1998), “Apache” (1954), an “Apocalypto” (2006). Half of these movies feature Native languages, and some of the more recent ones have entirely Native language dialogue.

• “Dances with Wolves”: Lakota (extensive), Pawnee (minimal); you can also see some PISL!

• “Last of the Mohicans”: Mohawk (minimal)

• “The New World”: Algonquin (minimal)

• “The Fast Runner”: Inuktitut (completely)

• “Apocalypto”: Mayan (completely)

Personally, I would substitute some of those titles with the following:

• “Black Robe” (1991): Mohawk (minimal), Algonquin (extensive). By the way, Sandrine Holt, the beautiful maiden from Black Robe, also appeared in “Rapa Nui” (1994) with Jason Scott Lee, which like “Windwalker”, is set completely in pre-Colonial times; in this case, Easter Island.

• “Windwalker” (1981): Cheyenne (completely), Crow (minimal)

• “Windtalkers” (2002): Navajo (extensive)

• “Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy” (2006): Cherokee (extensive)

• “Sikumi (On the Ice)” (2008): Inupiaq

On Internet Movie Data Base it’s possible to search for movies in a variety of Native languages. Bits and pieces of Native languages can be heard in various movies and television; for instance, some Lakota is spoken in the movie “Skins” (2002) and the TV series “Into the West” (2005).

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mathias

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